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In Defense of Dads

April 9, 2013
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It all started with Pinterest, as so many things do.

The cute little e-cards, pithy sayings, snarky remarks…but I’ve noticed a trend. Guy-bashing, male-bashing, whatever. Jokes about the incomppetence of fathers. The uselessness of men in general.

I did a search: All men are dumb. And this is what I found, among pages and pages of others.

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I did another search: Men are idiots. There are entire pin boards dedicated to this topic. Here’s one example:

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But then I found this on the blog Raising Arrows:

stupid-menI started noticing it several years ago.  It seemed every child’s cartoon, every television show, every movie featured men who were downright stupid and fathers who were worthless to their families.  The families of the sitcoms and popular movies were driven, not by strong father figures, but by moms who could juggle everything, including the occasional dumb male.

Because we don’t watch a lot of television and have been pretty choosy about the movies we watch and own, I had all but forgotten my disdain for the typical big screen family.  That is, until my children, who had been watching clips of PBS kids cartoons online, mentioned the stupidity of a certain father on one of the shows.  As I sat down to watch this show with the kids to see what they were talking about, I noticed that he wasn’t just ignorant, he was a buffoon.  His only purpose on the show was act like a child and refer his son to his all-knowing mother.

What was this teaching our children?  And worse yet, what was this teaching our young boys about the role of husbands, fathers, and men in general in today’s society?

Maybe I’m not the only one who sees that there is a problem here.

I’m raising men. I don’t want them to watch TV and see that fathers are useless and stupid. I don’t want them to think that there is no such thing as a nice, smart straight guy.

I want to raise men who are strong, who are confident, who are not afraid to stand up for themselves or those who need standing up for. I want them to see that strength lies in their integrity and humility. I want them to see these things as good, and manly, and esteemed. I want them to be admired for being a man, not ashamed.

Not useless.

Not stupid.

Not irrelevant.

Capable. 

If you saw one of these images on Facebook, or Instagram, or Pinterest and they weren’t about men but say, some other demographic group. Ethnic group. Gender – what if something like this were created about women? Would that be tolerated? Would you think that was ok?

Men are not moms. I don’t want my husband to be a mom. I want him to be a DAD. I like that he does the heavy lifting. I like that he’s better at stuff that I’m not so good at – like MATH, and COOKING! I like that we have equal but different roles in the home, and that his work is important and so is mine. I am not subjugated by his very size or strength, I am honored that he chooses to use it for good. Often, my good. The good of my children. The good of others.

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Single moms, I salute you.

I couldn’t do this alone. You have a gigantic task, but you also have the ability to raise your sons different. Tell them stories of real heroes, and teach them that strength lies in humility, that integrity is invaluable, and that real men do cry.  Teach your daughters what to look for in a real man – a man who loves God more than he’ll ever love her. A man who respects her mind and her talents, but who also wants to protect and nurture her.

First-time moms, I beg you: let him be a part of your world.

He doesn’t have breasts, he cannot feed your child, but he can do just about everything else. Let him. Even if he does it differently than you. Even if he does it wrong a few times. Let him be a father. You are over-protective now, but later you will moan that he never does anything to help you.

Make him feel useless and incompetent, and he’ll likely stop trying. You weren’t a baby expert when your first child was born, you had to figure stuff out for yourself, too. Let him do the same.

All mothers, all wives:

Let him toss your toddlers in the air, and play crazy games. Let him rough and tumble your daughters and let him hug and kiss your sons. Let him feed them Dad-food (like pancakes for dinner and pizza as often as possible.) They won’t die of undernourishment  Let him do the things he’s good at, and you do the things you’re good at. Speak kindly of him in public. Honor him for his differences.

Let him be a man.

Not a mom.

Different. Not wrong.

****************************

The conversation continues over on Facebook! Follow my author page for more insights and resources about dads, parenting and more. 

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43 Comments leave one →
  1. April 9, 2013 8:14 pm

    This rocks!!! Thank you so much!!!

  2. Catherine permalink
    April 9, 2013 8:16 pm

    Well said!!

  3. April 9, 2013 9:08 pm

    Amen! (and you are not alone! 😉 )

  4. April 10, 2013 2:06 am

    Well said! Amen!

  5. graceglimmers permalink
    April 10, 2013 4:10 am

    Absolutely true. All. I love my husband, I love our sons, and I pray our culture will start providing better role model dads/husbands/boys. Until then. I will stick to God’s Word…it shows STRONG men for sure!

    • April 10, 2013 8:28 am

      The Bible is full of both good and bad examples of fatherhood – great place to start a discussion with our sons!

  6. April 10, 2013 6:21 am

    LOVE this. I am truly blessed that my husband is an amazing father and sometimes a better mother than I am! He is strong and capable in so many aspects. I love when he rough houses with the boys and gets outside and dirty with them. They look up to him and love him. They also get to see the way he treats me – which is the same way he treated me when trying to woo me. When we kiss our one son says “eww” but I’m glad that they are growing up in a home with a healthy marriage. Our culture/society has taken a huge nose dive and stray from strong family examples. I pray that those that are fathers of young boys right now take it into their hands and ask God to help them teach the next generation that right now what is happening outside these four walls is not the best practices.

    • April 10, 2013 8:27 am

      Thanks for bringing up an important point – our guys are modeling the behavior our sons will one day use with their future wives. I am so glad that my boys have a good example of an affectionate, manly husband!

  7. Mr. Herzog permalink
    April 10, 2013 7:29 am

    As a father raising two sons and a daughter (all under the age of 5) against this cultural current seeking to destroy the strong male father figure, I bless and honor your work here. Thank you!

  8. JoniB permalink
    April 10, 2013 8:17 am

    My comment as I shared it on Facebook (I work in Women’s Health)…”Great read on men/dads….*especially what she says for new moms*. I counseled SO many patients in my office on that part. If you’re a mom, please read!!!! Might save a few marriages…” Thank you for putting this to words.

    • April 10, 2013 8:25 am

      THANK YOU for verifying from a professional standpoint what I see so often in young moms! Thanks for taking the time to comment. Blessings!

  9. April 10, 2013 8:34 am

    Yes, sometimes the biggest problem is that the wife/mom won’t step out of his way!

  10. Elaine permalink
    April 10, 2013 9:27 am

    GREAT blog post!! I totally agree! With hopes of having kids of my own someday, I hope that I can do a good job of letting C do his daddy thing his own way… and really celebrate the differences in that!

  11. Robert T. Stone permalink
    April 10, 2013 9:36 am

    That’s my girl!!!!

  12. April 10, 2013 10:42 am

    As a man, and hope to be a father some day, I want to be a capable man who is not seen by society as stupid or useless, or just “one of the boys”. Because seriously, moms already have x number of kids to deal with, they don’t need kids and husband-child. So, yes us guys need to step up to be men and fathers.

    We definitely need the encouragement of our wives, and we would love the encouragement of our society too. So many of us draw our value from how we precieved, both in the home and in public that feeling valued in both would be awesome. Granted society at large will esteem a good father and a good man, but in the media, the thing that consumes so dang much of our lives, the father is just that little bit more useful than a laugh track. He is the punch line that lets the audience know that this is supposed to be funny.

    Can a father be silly? YES!! A father should be able to laugh, especially at himself. But a father that is never serious is not good either. There will always be a balancing of the “hard nosed” with the “rambunctious wrestler” but it wouldn’t hurt to have a media model that can be pointed to as something to consider. We could use a lot less of the “man as punchline” or “adrenaline fueled action hero” and some genuine men, who live awesome, loving, enriching, empowering lives. I gues the “problem” with that kind of man is that he doesn’t make for very good TV.

    • April 10, 2013 6:03 pm

      Good points, Caleb! One of the reasons I always liked Bill Cosby. He was involved, smart, disciplined his kids AND he was fabulously silly!

  13. Juliet permalink
    April 10, 2013 4:37 pm

    Great post…time for someone to update shows like The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie 🙂 …

  14. Bob aka Dad permalink
    April 10, 2013 6:24 pm

    Amen sister! Proverbs 31:23. How many women can, or will, be strong enough to do it
    Mom

  15. Elisa permalink
    April 10, 2013 7:19 pm

    Amen! It takes a village to raise a child and of the village has strong values so will the children. As mom of two daughters, it is important they know they are worthy of a strong, God fearing man, and that they do exist 😀thank you for the reminder!!

  16. Amy permalink
    April 10, 2013 7:32 pm

    Well said! Thanks for writing words that really need to be said! And how awesome your dad is– I LOVE that he shouted out support for you in the comments section!

  17. April 10, 2013 8:09 pm

    Thank you. I have tried so hard and beat myself up for failing as a dad because I grew up without one (http://massivetruth.blogspot.com/p/testimony.html) and I don’t know what it is supposed to look like. My wife thinks better of me than I do. While I certainly appreciate her words of encouragement, its nice to hear it from a “stranger”.

    • April 10, 2013 9:18 pm

      Kevin – Gabe was raised without an example of what kind of dad he needed to be – or rather, the only examples he had were awful ones, at least until he got involved in a a church in high school. God has done great things in him, and obviously in you, too. Keep moving forward!

  18. April 12, 2013 7:36 am

    What an awesome post! I resonate as the father of a 3.5 year old little girl. Thankfully, my wife and I have learned to work as a team and to honor one another’s contributions. The benefit to my wife is that she has more freedom. She went shopping yesterday while I picked up Alethia from preschool, took her to the park, fed her dinner, gave her a bath, and put her to bed. I love being a dad, and I want all men to know the glories of it. Thanks for your insights; they are so important in our culture!

    • April 12, 2013 7:57 am

      Awesome example that roles don’t need to be drawn in stone – and way to go being a hands-on dad who can do the care-giving and nurturing in your own way. I’ll be your daughter loves that daddy-time!

  19. April 12, 2013 4:39 pm

    I’ve been saying this for years, thank you so much for putting it into print! God Bless you!

  20. Lori permalink
    April 14, 2013 6:18 pm

    AMEN!! I won’t allow my little ones to watch any show (they’re only allowed to watch a couple cartoons at this point) that degrades fathers. Their daddy is just as important as I am, and considering that we’ve got 3 boys, I don’t want to imply that they are of less value. Plus, I don’t want my daughter to think that she has to settle for a moron b/c “they’re all morons”. We as women would NEVER allow this constant bashing, so shame on us for thinking it’s ok to do to men. And you can only beat a man down so long before he stops getting up. Thank you for your post!

  21. May 15, 2013 10:22 am

    patriarchal garbage!

  22. Jen permalink
    May 15, 2013 12:06 pm

    Thank you for that reminder & eye opener! More women need to speak up for our husbands!!!

  23. Licia permalink
    May 27, 2013 8:23 am

    Unfortunately I wouldn’t say that it all starts on Pinterest, but I salute you for standing up for the men in our communities. The ‘man bashing’ has gone on for too long!

  24. Nan permalink
    May 27, 2013 11:20 am

    Great article. Even though my wonderful parents taught me better, growing up in a house with only sisters made me somewhat disdainful of the male species when I was younger. I thought my dad was great, but he was about the only one. Then I married a man who I love so completely and respect so much, and God (in his great wisdom!) has blessed us with three BOYS (so far) to raise. It’s opened my eyes so much.
    Even though he did not have a good example of what a father was in his own life, by God’s grace my husband is a wonderful father to our three boys. I want them to grow up to be respected, not mocked – and that starts with me, their mom. They are going to see how I treat their Dad and how I treat them, and I want them to know that they are smart and capable. I flinch at the jokes people make about my family of all boys, or when people tease me about being “the boss.” It doesn’t help that my personality is naturally bossy (oldest child!) and my husband’s is naturally very laid back (youngest child!). Yes I’m the manager of our home, but my husband has the final say.
    So glad I stumbled upon this today, it was very encouraging 🙂

    • May 27, 2013 3:16 pm

      Totally get this: ” I flinch at the jokes people make about my family of all boys, or when people tease me about being “the boss.”” Thanks for your thoughts – and thanks for stopping by!

  25. July 27, 2013 7:32 am

    Thanks for this! I am a new father very much trying to be a competent involved dad. If you are interested in a dads take on this issue check out my blog fatherknowswhat.wordpress.com

  26. July 28, 2013 6:06 am

    Amen! I’m having a really hard time finding good male role models (besides my fabulous husband) for my son. Even the books have mostly girl heroes anymore! Love that someone else out there is concerned about how our culture is portraying men!

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