“Daddy I made this for you!” the little voice said with excitement when my then 4yr old daughter handed me her handmade masterpiece. As I looked at her painting and the stenciled words “You Bring Joy to My Life,” I began to recall the many floor sessions playing dolls and practicing cartwheels. Another Father’s Day was here, which for me wasn’t so much about the celebration or ceremony, as it was about a day that made me pause, rather allowed me to stop everything just so I could recall all the beauty and magic associated with being a father.
Recently we came across a Tweet that suggested “Father’s Day” should be banned. As a father myself, I couldn't help but feel a bit hurt and angry that someone would want to take away the one day the world and all its demands halted so that we as fathers could enjoy our children. I’m sure the writer must have had a pressing reason to make that statement, nevertheless, to do away with the entire day? That just seemed a tad preposterous. Now we’ve all heard the saying “you don't throw the baby out with the bath water,” and I think this aphorism is fitting in this case when it comes to a post that seems to have gotten a good deal of traction.
The writer’s hashtag #BANFATHERSDAY gives one simple reason for wanting to do so: Patriarchy. The writer’s disposition goes on to presuppose that the day for the appreciation of fathers is not only patriarchal, but offensive to same sex women couples and single mothers. It seems as though that in the world we live in today even something as simple as the wind changing tends to offend someone in some way form or fashion. We’ve raised the question of why does the existence of one (Father’s Day) have to downplay, shine negatively, or associate a contempt for the other? (other parental figures) We also take a look at the importance of present and active fathers, as well as the significance of honoring them.
One could possibly fathom reasons why fathers are unnecessary, however staggering statistics appear to suggest otherwise. The National Institute of Justice found that 90% of runaway and homeless children are from fatherless homes. It goes on to state that 75% of adolescents in substance abuse treatment facilities also derive from fatherless homes. 71% of pregnant teens didn't have a father in the home and 63% of teenage suicides happen in households with an absent father. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) 85% of children with behavioral disorders didn't have fathers according to The Center for Disease Control, While The Center for Educational Statistics showed that 71% of all highschool dropouts are from fatherless homes. Girls without fathers are 7 times, that's 700% more likely to become pregnant as a teenager and 70% of youth in state-operated institutions (prisons, jails, and youth homes) come from fatherless homes. Almost half the children in the United States are without fathers at an unbelievable 43%. (US Census Bureau and Department of Justice)
It appears evident that the role fathers play in the lives of their children is of monumental importance. Though there are many homes without fathers, as well as a number of fathers who are inactive parents, that should not reflect negatively on the phenomenal fathers or grandfathers of the world. If nothing else, because the lack of active fathers is so alarming, dads doing their duty should be honored, encouraged and supported.
Cancel culture is an important and often justified effort to change the systems that are archaic, patriarchal, racist and sexist. However, when it comes to days that celebrate parents, whatever the family structure, we think it is important to celebrate positivity. Parents who are there, parents who are active, parents who show up, these parents are worthy of honor and should be exalted. Just because there are bad dads, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take the time to focus on celebrating the great ones. Furthermore, by recognizing active and involved dads, we acknowledge the possibilities of amazing parenting – coming from all individuals (women, men, non binary, trans, etc.) After all, the goal should be more fathers being active in the lives of their children, not disregarding fathers all together, right?
So what’s the way forward? Creating resources for and products that celebrate more active dads! Promoting a culture and mentality that makes men driven and remarkably passionate about being the best fathers they can be.
Personally, we’d rather see the addition of more days to celebrate single parents than to see us removing a day that has the opportunity to encourage more dads to want to be worthy of this special day.