Ah, Father’s Day, that annual celebration of fathers everywhere. One day where the world stops to acknowledge all fathers. If I can be truthful with you, a day I find to be increasingly inconsequential. And a day that since becoming a father has made me feel a little uncomfortable.
Perhaps, I feel ambiguous because I know all fathers are not the same. Yet on this day, we prefer to do that thing we love to do in America – act as though all are equal even when we know full well that we are not. America is a nation of ever-growing glaring inequality, and fathering is no exception.
Disingenuously, parents, Madison Avenue, traditional media, social media, and the like ask all children to pretend on this day that they have a father worth celebrating. Societal evidence notes this all “fathers are equivalent worship” is irreverent and irresponsible. Not only are many children unfairly expected to pretend they have a father worth celebrating, but on Father’s Day, we require too many children to act as though they have a father who is even worth knowing.
It is not my position that Father’s Day should be an exclusive time for questioning one’s human existence. Still, I do believe we should celebrate fathers based on the degree in which our expression of humanity manifests in our relationships with our children. In short, I do not think Father’s Day should include celebrating absent, abusive, unavailable, disengaged, or inattentive fathers, along with those present, loving, available, engaged, and attentive fathers.
But sadly, because we are a nation of people who prefer to act without thinking, celebrate without contemplating, we honor the pitiful with the prodigious. Celebrating bad fathers right along with good to great fathers not only minimizes the value of the day, but it cheapens the art of fathering.
Forcing children using mental, emotional, psychological, or on some more unfortunate occasions, physical coercion to buy someone a card, a gift, a meal, or anything of such just because they share XY chromosomes is misguided. Correction pressuring a child to pretend every genetic donor is a father is inhumane; it is close to being criminal.
As such, starting today, I am no longer going to accept sharing a day of recognition with another male solely because we both fertilized an egg. I know this might sound crass, but there is nothing special about ejaculating. The ability to produce sperm is a gift from the Creator, but purposeful and intentional fathering is the eternal debt we owe our children; it is the most profound contribution we can make to the Universe.
Boycott Father’s Day
Instead of ‘going with’ the proverbial ‘flow,’ I am going to encourage fathers – whose children would grade them as being qualifiedly and quantifiably present, loving, available, engaged, and attentive – to boycott Father’s Day until the day takes on a new meaning. From this day forward, while we wait for the Nation to come to its sense and stop celebrating our fragile ego breathing, minimum contribution giving, interlopers of idiotic commercialized capitalism brethren, I’m going to encourage great fathers to join the boycott.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, you might want to wake up and look up as it is not a stretch to say we are at an “existential” moment; a time worthy of boycotting. The state of the Nation and the world are both at crossroads.
As a species, depending on the moves we make, we can end up in Paradise or the pit of hell. Thus, we need to genuinely start utilizing this day of recognition and celebration as a platform for holding all fathers to some meaningful social standards.
More Than Pass or Fail
How well fathers do our jobs in raising tomorrow’s citizens: governmental, business, spiritual, and political leaders has never been more critical. How well we prepare the next generation of parents to parent is excruciatingly important. The example fathers set today as living models of what we want for the future is paramount to all living beings.
And despite all that is at stake, despite the increasing needs for children to be intellectually ambitious, globally and culturally competent, and humanitarian motivated, we continue the same old tired and worthless celebration of fathers who are not elevating the human condition. We keep minimizing the profession of fatherhood by ignoring the distinction between fathers who give everything – time, talent, treasure, mind, body, and soul – from those who give little to nothing so that their children may be in the position to contribute and thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
What I’m saying is simple. I will no longer share a day with men who abuse their children, abuse their children’s mother, intentionally choose not to provide for their children, or harm any human regardless of race, class, gender, or social standing in any way.
I’m asking you not to reduce fathering to the old standards of a roof over a child’s head, clothes on their back, or food on the table. That criterion of fathering was tired when I was a child; it is exhausted today. Besides, the Government will provide those same things and never ask to be called anything more than Uncle Sam. Shouldn’t a father be better than the Government?
Please do not lump me in the same category with fathers like police officers who kill innocent citizens, government officials who ignore the cries of marginalized citizens, politicians who write and pass laws that rob people of their humanity, or corporate executives who perpetuate a superior race and gender narrative offering the American dream to just 10% while depriving the masses of even a living wage. I believe celebrated fathers should be the best of us; what about you?
‘The Last Dance’
I am going to borrow from Michael Jordan. If ‘His Airness’ is unwilling to accept Steph Curry into his club, the N.B.A. Hall of Fame, then great fathers can make a similar case for limiting the men deserving recognition with us. Father’s Day, therefore, should be like a sports hall of fame, a time and place where only the great fathers are canonized and celebrated.
Think about this. Last year, when the world tuned in to watch ‘The Last Dance,’ they didn’t do so to watch the last dance of a recreational pickup basketball player. We all watched the last dance of the G.O.A.T – Michael Jordan, the greatest professional basketball player of all time.
Notwithstanding the importance of sports in this country, I hope you would agree that being a father is not only better, but it’s of far greater importance than basketball or any other occupation for that matter. So, this Father’s Day and every one after, let’s boycott this day.
Let’s continue to boycott until we are finally ready to make this a day of distinction, a day to only celebrate Hall of Fame fathers, not recreational pickup game males masquerading as fathers.
Previously Published on The RS Project