This is the post that I had prepared for last week before I was so rudely interrupted...by myself.
With Father's Day, my son's birthday, and my daughter's birth all happening in the past few weeks I have found myself thinking more than ever about what it means to be a father. Being a father today is very different than it was when our dads raised us and light-years away from when our grandfathers raised them. The resources available to us and the challenges we face are worlds apart. The idea of what is expected of us has changed. We take paternity leave. We adopt flexible work schedules to hang out with the kids. Our wives have careers of their own. Here are a couple of pictures of my little ones, Jax and Syd. I hope I don't screw them up too badly.
Sociologists say that fatherhood is affected by a process of detraditionalization, whereby fathering has increasingly become a response to personal biography and circumstances rather than being modeled on traditional ideal types of what it means to be a father. Their discussion uses some of the ideas developed in debates on reflexive modernization to suggest that fatherhood is becoming progressively individualized. It uses these theoretical interpretations as a tool in understanding the way that societal change in all its complexity impacts on the role of the late modern reflexive father. Did you get all of that? I think that sounds like a load of over-complicated B.S., personally. To me, being a dad means showing up...every day...trying as hard as you can with the resources that you have, and leaving it all on the field. To some extent, as men, we have been raised to be in control of situations and solve problems as they arise, but as fathers we need to give ourselves room to not know all of the answers because there are definitely no manuals or D.I.Y. guides (not that we would read them anyway). So, like seemingly everything else I do, I'm making it up as I go.
There is one frightening and surprising aspect of fatherhood that I have discovered. I haven't done the research to determine if it is passed down from father to son through generations or weather it is a trait that is tied to the “Y” chromosome. It's probably both, I think. Of course I'm talking about the inability to avoid using embarrassingly bad puns in normal conversation. I just can't stop myself from saying things like, “How’s your chicken? Mine is fowl.” Or “Who pea'd on the floor?” when my son drops a pea off of his plate. These buggers have even started to creep into conversation with grown-ups. The other day my boss asked me what time it was, and I told him it was time to go to the dentist because it was “tooth-hurty.” A friend of mine wondered why my bike wasn't working so I told him that it was “two-tired.” I feel like I have G-rated Tourette's. I'm not the only one with this problem, am I? Please tell me I'm not. Leave a comment with your favorites below, and hopefully by talking about our issue we can avoid perpetuating this evil disease. And remember to eat your fruit, it’ll help you live to a ripe old age...heh, heh...ahem....
The guys who fear becoming fathers don’t understand that fathering is not something perfect men do, but something that perfects the man. The end product of child raising is not the child but the parent. - Frank Pittman