American society is in the midst of a gender war.
In the last year, we’ve seen Hollywood giant Harvey Weinstein become a small man, taken down by his own depravity and a string of victims. We’ve seen the #MeToo movement, though often misguided in their approach and language, rise up against sexual predation and demand change.
Sexual crimes, directed at women and perpetrated by men, are egregious and terrifying.
Unfortunately, it’s been easy for some to label all men as bad and demand that the “evil patriarchy” be smashed because of the actions of monsters. Such an agenda is not only hysterical in nature, but wrong. If anything, we need more masculinity, of the true variety, and a mutual respect for males and females and how they were created to complement one another.
Therefore, we must recognize the essential nature of families, for the family unit is the foundation of society. Barbara Bush, in her commencement address at Wellesley College on June 1, 1990, said it best.
But whatever the era, whatever the times, one thing will never change: Fathers and mothers, if you have children, they must come first. You must read to your children and you must hug your children and you must love your children. Your success as a family, our success as a society, depends not on what happens in the White House but on what happens inside your house.
A crumbling society with cheap morals only needs to retrace its steps to discover the start of the breakdown. I guarantee that the journey would lead to when the strength of the nuclear family first began to degrade.
At the head of the family is the father. This holds true whether you are religious or not. It also applies despite claims to the contrary from feminist circles. The father is the guide, protector, and often, but not always, the main breadwinner. (Thankfully, for the hardworking single moms out there with no male influence in the home, friends or family members routinely step in to help.)
The father will be the first to teach his children about responsible masculinity. He is the first example of chivalry. If he has daughters, he will capture their hearts in ways only a dad can. He will be the first example of how a man should treat a woman. His behavior will establish a precedent that remains with his children throughout their life.
The role of the father is of the utmost importance.
Thankfully, I grew up in a warm and loving household with parents who were completely committed to their own union as well as raising their three children. And on this Father’s Day, I’d like to recognize the man in my life who fills that role.
My excellent father, Donald, is a man of great compassion. He enjoys connecting with people, even absolute strangers, and is outgoing in ways my more introverted self greatly admires. He is and always has been a hard worker, doing what is necessary to provide for his family. My father has been a pastor and is currently a missionary to churches in the Midwest. Before his current calling, in lean times and with a young family at home, my father painted grain bins and cleaned out vacant houses to make ends meet. He knew what had to be done to provide for the needs of his wife and children.
My father is a supremely talented carpenter. Woodworking is just something he does on the side, but he excels at it. For Christmas one year, when funds were tight, he made wooden toys for me and my brothers. I still have the baby doll crib he made for me. I treasured it then and continue to now. The craftsmanship is evident. The love, tangible. I am sure my parents had their concerns that holiday season, but to me, it was a perfect Christmas.
In high school, my dad, the man with the huge heart, would get me a bouquet of pink carnations every year for Valentine’s Day. As a boyfriendless teenager all four years, the gesture meant the world to me. No, I didn’t have gaudy, life-size bears or $100 bouquets waiting at my locker. Instead, I had something better: a father who saw that his daughter, in those hormone-driven years, needed to be reminded of her inherent worth. It is a dear memory to me.
My parents, who will celebrate 47-years of marriage later this month, never let their children doubt the love they had (and continue to have) for one another. I remember seeing my father come up behind my mother when she was making dinner and hug, kiss, or maybe even tickle her. As a kid, I would outwardly express disgust at the gross displays. Inside, though, my tender heart was bursting with joy. Home was a solid place.
Now, I live several hours from my parents, but they are only a phone call away. My father is one of those guys who knows how to fix anything. If I have a question, I know who to call. His reassurance and knowledge, and general support and encouragement in life is essential.
I am proud to say that Donald is my father. His personality and person make him one-of-a-kind.
But there are many more like him.
They are fathers who are invested in their families. Fathers who deeply love their children. Fathers willing to sacrifice. Fathers who recognize emotional struggles. Fathers who are compassionate. Fathers who work hard.
And you know what? We’ve failed to recognize the importance of men, and especially fathers, in this gender-obsessed age.
Frankly, I’m tired of women – and mothers – being lauded nearly non-stop at the expense of the men in all of our lives. Too often, the American father is seen as the dopey, bumbling guy in the background. I’m tired of him being portrayed as an annoying bore rather than an integral part of every day.
We do not fix the ills in society by demeaning, shaming, and accusing almost one-half of it.
The triumph of fathers is that they work to raise generations of loving, respectful, hardworking souls who go on to invest in families of their own. I can count my own father as a success for having spent his adult life dedicating himself to this pursuit. It wasn’t always easy and like the rest of us, he is not perfect; but he was always present and invested.
As too many in society continue to look down on masculinity and by extension, fatherhood, witnesses such as myself are grateful for its existence. We are examples of its true character and the strength of its foundation.
Fathers, now – more than ever – we need you.
Dear Dad, thanks for being mine.