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Rand GreenHonoring Fatherhood

Yosemite Valley


I ALWAYS THOUGHT IT STRANGE, as a young boy, as a young father, and throughout my life, that when I went to church on Mother's Day I would hear mothers and motherhood praised from the pulpit, but on Father's Day, no matter where I was or who was giving the sermon, it seemed that almost invariably fathers were more preached at than praised.

It is certainly not a bad thing for fathers to be reminded of their responsibilities. But I have always contended that Father's Day is not the time for it. It ought to be a time for honoring fatherhood and thanking our fathers for all they've done for us. Nor should the expression of those sentiments be limited to one day a year. And quite truthfully, in my observation most fathers, even the imperfect ones, really do deserve a lot of credit. It is a rare father who is not deeply devoted to his children, who does not endeavor both to provide for their needs and to guide them into responsible adulthood − sometimes a frustrating and often a thankless task.

Regrettably, fathers are often underappreciated, and not just in church sermons on Father's Day. The tendency to lavish praise on moms (well-deserved, I might add) while being critical of dads has become a common theme in the entertainment industry, often in a humorous vein. It is pervasive in the media and in the classroom. It spills over into every-day conversation. It is insidious, and it has gotten worse over the years. A widespread presumption seems to have crept into our culture that moms are angelic but dads are derelicts.

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As a case in point, one metropolitan daily newspaper, which featured Mother's Day prominently in its Life section on May 9, managed to make not a mention of Father's Day anywhere in today's edition − except on the op-ed page, where the paper's editors chose to publish a piece from a national columnist contemptuous of fathers!

I am convinced that the leftist-feminist agenda is largely behind this demeaning of fatherhood. While feminists don't exactly glorify motherhood either (a topic for another time), they are, on the whole, focused much less on emancipating women than on emasculating men. It's an attitude that manifests itself in many forms in our culture − the generally accepted notions, for example, that little girls are good but little boys are bad and that women are from Venus but men are from Mars.

And even as I write this, I know that many who read it will respond by saying (or thinking), "Well, it's true, isn't it?" Well, no, it's not true. Certainly there are differences between men and women, between boys and girls − in the way they think, and in the way they behave, and thank goodness there are. No − thank God, who ordained those differences, because it takes both types to make a strong family and a strong society. To denigrate masculine traits, in boys or in men − even in jest − weakens families, weakens communities and weakens the nation. It is a trap we ought to consciously and conscientiously avoid falling into.

So entrenched in our culture has contempt for male traits become that in most elementary schools throughout the country today, many teachers feel that one of their most important responsibilities is to encourage little boys to suppress their "socially undesirable" male traits and nurture their "feminine side." That concept was drilled into the teachers in their education courses at college, and in some states, it is written into their state-mandated lesson plans. Today's kindergarteners may still bring home "I Love You, Mom" artwork they did at school for Mother's Day, but there will be no corresponding activity for Father's Day, further reinforcing the notion that fathers are not deserving of recognition.

We need to reverse this trend! For the sake of our children, our grandchildren, and generations yet unborn, it is critical that they be raised in an environment in which fatherhood is honored and fathers are respected, for children will seek to emulate those whom they respect. If they come to believe that fathers are not worth their respect, they will not, themselves, aspire to responsible fatherhood. When that occurs, the institution of the family will crumble − which is the liberal-feminist goal, the state will step in to replace the family, and our nation's future will be bleak, indeed.

Source: Copyright 2010 Rand Green Communications.
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