Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Is it just me, or do dads get a bit of a bad rap even on Father's Day?


Father's Day is a day for celebrating fathers, right?  For acknowledging all the wonderful things they do for their children day in and day out, and for thanking them...you know, like really thanking them for all the blessings we've received from them.

Right.  So is it just me, or is there really a very stark contrast between how we celebrate Father's Day and how we celebrate Mother's Day?  Because I feel like there is.  I really do.
I've had the impression for several years now that Father's Day was probably only made into a holiday in an attempt to be fair.  Like, you know.  Mom had a holiday, so dad must have one too...though we really couldn't care less.   

I can't explain it exactly, all I know is, in the last couple churches I've attended, I've noticed a distinct difference in how we celebrate these two holidays. 

Mom gets all the encouraging words.  All the "You're the best!" "I'm sorry I've taken you for granted so much!" type stuff.  While dad gets more of a "You're great" but "let me also encourage you to work even harder at being the dad I know you can be!"  Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

On Mother's Day we show humorous little videos depicting how much moms do on a daily basis to keep their homes running smoothly.  Humorous videos with of course a touching moment at the end where everyone realizes how overwhelmingly amazing mom is and how helpless they would be without her.  Which is all well and good, except I've also noticed that in the process of trying to make mom look really good we have a tendency to make dad look really bad.  Have you ever noticed that?  Dad can't do anything right, but mom does it all splendidly.  I think it's supposed to be funny, but I'm afraid I fail to see the humor.

So mom gets an entertaining, humorous, and "YOU ARE SO AMAZING" video for her holiday, while dad gets...

What?

A boring slideshow with forgettable pictures, and tons of heart-felt words that you never remember because the presentation itself just isn't all that compelling. 

(You can definitely tell which holiday gets the most amount of thought put into  it.)

Oh, and then there's the prayer.  On Mother's Day I'm pretty sure the prayer consists of thanking God for all the things our mother's do for us which we tend to take for granted.  A lengthy, heart-felt acknowledgment that our mom really is one of the biggest influences in our lives for good.  That we love her.  That we want her to feel loved, and appreciated, and that she really is the best!  You know.  We gush about the sacrificial love she shows every moment of every day.  The multi-tasking and endless amount of energy she expends for the good of her family. 

And don't get me wrong!  Mom deserves this praise!  She really does! 

But what about dad? 

I confess, I was getting a little heated in church the other day because while praying for our fathers, it seemed to me that the main thing coming across in that prayer was "and please help those dads who aren't quite up to the mark.  Help them to rise to the challenge and be the dads they were meant to be."  Like wait!  Hold on a second!  I thought this holiday was about THANKING our fathers.  Showing them how much they're appreciated and how grateful we are for all that they do.  Because they DO, do a lot!  They do!!  Dads show sacrificial love just as much as moms do.  They're concerned about their kids.  They pour into their lives on a daily basis, and they are just as capable as the moms of taking their job seriously.  I'm telling you, there are a lot of good dads out there! 



So why can't we take this one day of the year and really appreciate them instead of falling back on the notion that we have to call forth true fatherhood, and get dads back to where they're supposed to be?  Fatherhood may well be under attack in this day and age.  I'm sure there are a lot of fathers who aren't doing their jobs.  But hey!  There are a lot of moms in that boat as well.  And I think as a church we're not helping matters at all by continuously assuming that the main thing about dads nowadays is that they're not doing what they're supposed to be doing. 

Just look at all the Christian films out there about fathers.  What is the pervading message of those films?  "Dad's on the wrong track.  Dad needs to change.  YAY, HE GOT OUR MESSAGE!  DAD'S A GOOD DAD NOW!!  Score one for us!" 

Effective?  Eh.  I'm not so sure. This message has been repeated hundreds of times over--ad nauseam--and I'm beginning to wonder.  Does watching a film about a dad who does a complete turn around call forth more effective parenting from fathers, or does it merely cement in our minds the notion that every dad is failing and every dad needs this message?!!! 

What is our true opinion of our fathers? 

Because it feels to me that we as the church are not calling forth the best in our fathers.  What we're really doing is assuming the worst of them.  We take it for granted that nine times out of ten dads are failing in their responsibility and in our attempt to call them up higher, all we're really doing is pounding it home to them that we don't believe in them.  That no matter what they do they can always do better.  And do you have any idea how discouraging such an attitude is?  That doesn't encourage anyone to be a better person, that simply convinces them that they're never going to be good enough.


In conclusion, please forgive the ranting style of this post, and also accept my apologies if I came off a bit too strong in some places.  I don't mean to be offensive in any way, but we all have our subjects and I'm afraid this is one I can get just a little bit carried away on.   (See this post and this post for further evidence of that fact.  ;)) 

In conclusion (yes, that would be conclusion the second), I just want to say, let's quit the bandwagon of trying to make better fathers and instead look our fathers in the face and say "THANK YOU!"  Because no matter what the world says, there are still a host of great dads out there and they deserve our respect and our gratitude!!

16 comments:

  1. This is totally off topic, but I just discovered your blog today and I love the background. It's so pretty!

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    1. Thanks, Angela! I love the background, too. It makes me happy! :D

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. It was so nice to meet you!

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  2. Aww, this was really sweet, Alyssa, and I can say I have noticed there has been less emphasis and appreciation placed on fathers, which is saddening. (Although I hadn't ever heard of churches doing anything like that before.) Here's to making our dads feel more special and encouraging them in all the sacrificial things they do! <3

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    1. Thanks, Gabby! And yes! Here's to making our dads feel special and giving them more encouragement! Well said. <3 <3

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  3. So true! Mother's are glorified almost to sainthood so often and poor fathers are so often left in the dust. I appreciate both my father and mother so much.

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    1. EXACTLY!! I'm so glad I'm not the only one who's noticed this. Thanks for commenting, Lois! :)

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  4. *thunderous applause*

    YES, thank you for this post! I 120% agree with it. I feel like the difference between celebrations of fathers and mothers is oftentimes portrayed in the movies--how Dad is a bumbling idiot but Mom knows what's right and the solution to everything. I wonder if that's just our culture/society imitating what we often see on the screen?

    Anyway, excellent post, excellent food for thought! Thanks for taking the time to put thoughts into words about this!

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    1. Awww! Thank YOU, Anna! I was worrying a bit that perhaps I was the only one who felt this way so knowing that I'm not the only one who's thought about this was super encouraging. :)

      And yes, I think TV and movies really do play a large role in how we view fatherhood. There's certainly some very definite stereotypes in film, and it's probably hard for that not to rub off on us after awhile.

      You're welcome! And thank you! :)

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  5. I feel the same way - wonderful post, Alyssa!

    Catherine

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  6. Wow -- I hadn't thought of this before, but I think you're right. This is definitely convicting and needed -- thank you for sharing it!!

    I guess one other thing that I did notice as I started reading this post, considering how we celebrate Mother's and Father's Day differently, is the whole thing about "dad jokes". Like, I feel like there's more poking fun -- albeit good-natured poking fun -- on Father's Day than on Mother's Day. You know?

    Again, thank you for sharing this! I needed to read it. Love you! :)

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    1. You're welcome. And thank you! :)

      Yeah, I can see that. There definitely does seem to be more of a tendency to poke fun at fathers than at mothers (though yes, it usually is in a good-natured way). Who knows why that is. *shrugs*

      Aw, thanks! Love you, too! :)

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  7. This is a really good perspective! I think a large part of the reason behind the difference in celebration - even if it's unintentional, or even unconscious - is the fact that in our world today, many fathers *don't* live up to the mark and don't give their children the healthy parenting that they need. Most mothers are not able to disassociate in the same way that our society allows fathers to do - therefore, more recognition is sometimes given to them for fulfilling the parental obligations that *somebody* had to do. Mothers tend to bear the brunt of childrearing, even in the most happy and loving of homes - probably stemming from a traditional role-play of fathers working outside the home and mothers being the nurturers. But when a traditional family unit doesn't function in the way most people expect it to, it's often (not always, just often!) the mother who still fulfills the parental role, while the father is absent or unaccounted for. Think about it - how many single fathers do you know, as opposed to single mothers? It's a much smaller ratio (at least in my experience).

    I'm not saying any of this against the good fathers that many of us have been blessed with - just thinking about why it is that Father's Day is often seen as more of a reminder to be good and less of a thanking-for-being-good kind of thing. I've seen far too many neglectful, tyrannical, selfish and/or completely absent or even abusive fathers for my own taste. That DOESN'T negate the many, many good ones out there. But on a day that's meant to celebrate the good ones, those who don't HAVE a good one are bitterly reminded of it, and maybe that's why they like to remind those who *are* there for their families to live up to their roles.

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    1. No, you're right. There probably are more fathers than mothers who are not fulfilling their role as parents, so that would make sense why Father's Day seems more toned down than Mother's Day. Still it makes me sad when it feels like the dads who are doing a good job get overlooked simply because we're so focused on those who aren't doing a good job. If good fathers are in the minority then I think we ought to give them even more focus and encouragement because lumping them with all the fathers who aren't doing what they should be doing, and giving them the typical "do better" pep talk seems like it might end up being detrimental rather than helpful. But I don't know. I'm just talking off the top of my head right now. ;) As to there being more single moms than single dads, yeah I'd say that's probably true, but whether that's because the dads are irresponsible or because the law tends to side in favor of the kids staying with the mom, it's hard to say.

      No, what you said makes perfect sense! And yes, it is hard for those who don't have good dads to be reminded of it on Father's Day, (but then there are those who don't have good moms, too--maybe not as many--but you still run the risk of someone feeling hurt whatever you do...) I guess I'm just tired of trying to cover all the bases. Like is it ever okay to just have a day when you talk about the positive aspects of fatherhood and acknowledge those who living up to their roles, without feeling like you have to turn around the next minute and aplogize for all the dads who aren't doing things right? I guess it just frustrates me that simply because so many dads have messed up we can no longer give full credit and appreciation to those who haven't. (Do I get on a soap box about this or what? Haha. ;))

      Thanks so much for your comment, Amy!! It was great to hear from you! :D And sorry it took me so long to respond. I've been in a super lazy mood with regards to writing lately and have not been keeping on top of things like I should. ;)

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    2. I LOVE this post! I really believed that I was the only female who thought this about Father's Day, so it is exciting and refreshing to discover someone with the same perspective!

      You are correct about the reason there are more single moms than single dads. Having spent several years teaching in public schools (after having been homeschooled the whole way), I was appalled to discover that there are women out there who become pregnant for the sole purpose of having someone- be it the child's father or the government- provide for them. Moms tend to be awarded custody more than the fathers, thanks to the effects of feminism in our country.

      Thank you for being so thoughtful and understanding of fathers. There are a LOT of good men and fathers still out there, who go about quietly doing their jobs, loving and providing for their families, because it's the right thing to do. Thank you for recognizing, supporting, and encouraging them!

      P.S: I love your blog background!

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    3. Aww! Hi Sarah! Thanks for stopping by. I'm so glad you enjoyed this post. And I'm excited in turn to discover someone else who feels the same way about this as I do! Thanks so much for commenting. It made my day! :D

      Yes, it certainly does seem like they side in favor of the mom most of the time. I mean, I guess it sort of makes sense especially if you're dealing with an infant since the mom is the chief care-giver at the beginning, but on the other hand it still seems like both parents ought to be given a fair and equal chance at raising their child. Though I guess I shouldn't talk too loud, as I honestly have very little experience in these matters. ;) (You were homeschooled? Neat-o! So was I! *high five*)

      Yes, there really are! SO many good fathers. Well said. <3 <3

      P.S. Thanks! :)

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