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The Changing Role of Dads and an Ode to Father’s Day

traditional dads

Father’s Day has long stood in the shadow of Mother’s Day. Not only because its date falls later on the calendar, but let’s face it, also because we tend to cling to all of the things that dad didn’t do instead of celebrating what he did do.

Not only does Mother’s Day fuel 75 percent more spending than Father’s Day, but “dad” and “manhood” just aren’t topics that get a lot of airplay. Compare a Google search on any phrases or words around masculinity or fatherhood to the “power of the feminine,” or the “rise of Mother” and you’ll quickly see which topics are more celebrated and discussed (especially in spiritual circles.)

Maybe dad’s day stands in the shadows because traditionally children are more emotionally connected to mom.  Her role, as the nurturer and caretaker has existed since the beginning of time, and it has not evolved that much.  “Father” used to mean “disciplinarian” and “bread-winner,” roles which are more difficult for a child to understand and to be appreciative of than that of moms. But it’s a different story for dads today.

Today’s dads are going through a major shift.  They not only change diapers, they often stay home and raise the kids, something almost unthinkable for baby-boomer fathers.  And even if they’re still doing all the bread-winning for their household today, 86 percent of today’s fathers say they spend more time with their kids than their own fathers did.  And they’re more nurturing – 89 percent of new dads say they show open affection to their kids. (Ad Council.)

These are interesting times for men, fathers – and indeed, Father’s Day.   I’m excited to see how my own twin girls benefit from this sort of modern connection to their father. (Could we see “daddy issues” eradicated for this generation?  We can hope…)

Today pays homage – to all the dads out there trying to figure it out.  The baby-boomer dads didn’t have it any easier than today’s new super-dads, and it’s no doubt hard to be compared – so we’re featuring a couple of stories of unconditional love for Father’s Day.  We hope you enjoy our other article/story we featured from The Good Men Project, as well as the moving video from Jason Frahm.

Today I celebrate all the things I AM because of my father.

Ode to My Own Father:

Dad, I thank you for giving me my wildness and sense of adventure. These are character traits I learned from you (an inheritance which in earlier days, often put us at odds) but as an adult, I know that it gave me the courage to travel the world and seek out adventure on my own.

Here’s to you, and who you helped me become:

Without you, I would have quit my paper route the first time the thermometer fell below zero.

I wouldn’t have known the sweet reward of a Dilly Bar for riding my bike twice as far as I thought I could.

I never would have gotten back up on that horse.

I wouldn’t have believed I could water ski on one ski (especially when there was still some ice on the lake.)

I wouldn’t know that it was humanly possible hold my breath underwater for two minutes and fifteen seconds.

I wouldn’t have learned how to parallel park in a stick shift at 12.

I wouldn’t dare to put a worm on a hook or clean a fish.

I wouldn’t have known, as a skinny girl of 10, that I could not only master 300 pounds of rumbling metal, but I could even beat the boys at the snowmobile race.

Without you, I might never have learned that I’m stronger, faster and braver than I had ever imagined.

I wish we lived closer and that you had the time to pass that on to my girls, but certainly I will do my best to carry the torch. And for lighting the fire on the torch that guides my way, I thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Crazy fathers on Fathers Day

(Photo:  My wild and crazy father, somewhere on an icy lake in Minnesota, circa 1975.)

What unique things did your father bring to your life?  Please share below!