Let’s hear it for the dads

Because we don’t have kids, Mike and I most often socialize with other nonparents, or with folks whose kids have grown. But yesterday I had the chance to see how the other half lives, hanging out at a party with people not too much younger than we are who happen to be the parents of young children.

What struck me most was how involved the dads are with their kids. All the fathers there were actively interacting with, coaching, playing with, disciplining, feeding, and otherwise “parenting” their child and watching out for all the kids there.

Contrast that to my own experiences with my dad growing up and a lifetime of observing dads older than yesterday’s group. The dads I grew up with were never that involved; child-rearing was pretty much the moms’ job. Dads were there to say, “Go ask your mother,” yell at you when you got out of line, and scare the bejesus out of you, so you didn’t get out of line. Harsh? Maybe, but that was pretty much how it was.

That’s not to say that if I talked to all the moms at yesterday’s party, they would agree their spouses are 50-50 on the childcare/parenting front. But to this casual observer, it was pretty darn impressive. And so nice to see.

I can’t say I observe similar parenting out in public day-to-day (from moms or dads). I’m sure a lot of what I saw yesterday had to do with the group I was with — clearly stellar individuals. But it made an impression on me.

Way to go dads! (And way to go moms…was he this way when you found him?) 

Fatherhood is pretending the present
you love most is soap-on-a-rope. 
                                   ~ Bill Cosby


  1. mel said,

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Since I was at that same occasion (tee hee), I can comment that dad involvement there was pretty good. To answer your question, no, he was not that way when we found him, at least not that dedicated to the cause. My guy always had a way with kids, and still does, but we’ve had to work on raising awareness about the need for constant monitoring. I’d say it’s the same with most men, even good guys and/or good dads, just because the awareness factor in general is not of the same heightened degree as it is in women. But hey, that’s just my humble opinion. And since I’ve been told by a sibling that I’m not really a parent unless I have more than one, then I guess I don’t really have a parental opinion. ; )

  2. WritingbyEar said,

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 10:42 am

    Goodness — if having only one doesn’t make you a parent, imagine the lowliness of MY opinion on anything child related…(I guess having been one doesn’t count). I think you hit upon the key though: he “always had a way with kids.” Some guys like ’em; other guys don’t. The seeds were already there…

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