I wrote this piece about dads ten years ago, and today, a week before father’s day, my son graduates 8th grade. Since writing I have divorced and continued living and appreciating my now co-parent (ex-husband) as the great papa that he is. I am an effing lucky feminist. I recognize and appreciate my privilege.
I want to honor these dads. I want to honor them back because they have been honoring us.
During yesterday’s playdate, while our boys were looking at my Magic the Gathering cards, my friend responded to his son’s question with “the wise man said [ … yada yada] and you know he’s wise because he was taught by the wise woman, his mother. He learned most of what he knows from his mother.”
Oh the smiles the modern father, the wise father, brings to my face.
This morning I woke to the note for my son from his father, “The Robot Kitten is low on batteries. Please feed the Robot Kitten some energy pellets so it can recharge them. Thanks.” Yesterday the note said “please feed the frog,” and before that “please feed the dog.” My son frolics in the funny jokes and is willing to do the chore of feeding the cat because his papa made it fun.
I want to honor these dads. I want to honor them back because they have been honoring us. These revolutionary males who, against culture and inculcation, choose to break cycles and beliefs to elevate people in society, side by side as equals. They choose to speak up, to step in instead of remaining silent.
A lot of kids grow up with animosity between the sexes. Even proclaimed feminists may put down dads and husbands with negative generalizations. I just saw an article titled“27 Reasons Husbands can’t be Trusted to do Anything Right,” but my husband can fold fitted sheets, and I think it’s funny if he puts a mustache on the baby or burns the yard furniture with a giant homemade magnifying glass. Honestly, that’s why I married him and I honor his creative/destructive genius. I know the article was supposed to be a joke but it still cuts.
A female friend recently posted on Facebook “I love men and all their wonderful contributions to life on the planet … check out Dad’s who give a *uck … so much to enjoy and celebrate … does this make me Promale-ist?” I have been trying to figure out what to call this too, my interest in raising men to equal status with women in society with regard to “feminine” traits and roles.
I understand, after years of being degraded and belittled as women the temptation to condescend back seems justified. But thank you everyone who grows to the occasion instead, who recognizes the backlash and calls it out for what it is … prejudice, intimidation, and bullying.
This animosity is a pattern being broken as we learn to speak about each other with honor, respect, and appreciation. Some of our children are now being raised with reverence for wise women and honor of the empathetic father, as they see respect mirrored in their parents eyes. I want you to know that the culture of gender related put downs will not long be tolerated.
This was published by me in the Good Men Project in 2014.