As a new father, Casey Palmer already knew what it meant to be a good mom in today’s society, but what does it mean to be a good dad?
I didn’t know what to expect when I became a Dad. It’s not like I lacked good fatherly figures — my father made sure I could handle whatever the world threw at me, and my grandfather made sure to show me what it meant to stay devoted to relationships for decades — it was more because I had no clue of what the world expected of me.
The “2015 Father” is a conundrum. We hear plenty of stories about what can happen to children when they lack a father figure — they might join a gang, they’re reportedly less likely to go to church if their mother goes but their father doesn’t, the father in absentia is oft-blamed for children’s bad behavior, society diagnosing a lack of the firm disciplinarian they so sorely needed to keep them in line, etc.
But people rarely talk about what the value of a good father is.
Mothers are important — they carry babies in their wombs until they’re full-term and ready for birth; they wean the children if they choose to breastfeed; single mothers are often revered for “beating the odds” and raising children who turn out as amazing adults. There’s no doubt in anyone’s minds that children cannot exist without mothers, but fathers are all too often treated as little more than sperm donors.
There are Dads who do it right — the ones who stick around, nurture their children and raise them to positively influence the world around them. The ones at the park playing with their kids because there’s a parent at home in desperate need of some extra sleep. The ones attending ballet recitals and sewing Halloween costumes to support their children’s dreams. Gender norms are slowly dying, lines are slowly blurring, and the good fathers are unafraid to do whatever it takes to be the dad their children need, because screw how society thinks a father’s supposed to act — a real father provides for his family, and not just with a bi-weekly paycheck.
These fathers may very well be the unsung heroes of parenthood, cast to a background role by society simply due to physiology. Dads might not physically carry their children to term, it’s true, but does it mean they love their children any less than their mothers do? Does it mean fathers feel less responsible for making a difference in their children’s lives and giving their all to raising them right? Or are they just on the bum end of a bad rap, stuck in a world that needs to change the conversation on what being a father’s really about?
It’s time to find out.
This article originally appeared on CaseyPalmer.com
Photo courtesy of bigstockphoto.com