Saturday, June 01, 2013

A Father's Worth

June already, and just in time for Father's Day we have the offensive Washington Post article, "The new F-word: Father." The piece leads off with this breathless query:

 "News that women increasingly are the leading or sole breadwinner in the American family has resurrected the perennial question: Why do we need men? 
As if "breadwinning" was the only thing families need men for. Have we really become this unaware and stupid as a society?

Due to a wide variety of circumstances during my children's formative years, I was often the leading breadwinner in my family. So what? My kids both had a strong, positive, and powerful relationship with their dad, who did immeasurably more for them than fork over $20 bills. A good father is, among many other things, a teacher, counselor, role model, champion, protector, and hero. My husband was all of that to our children, and more.

If you were lucky enough to have had a good father while you were growing up, you understand his importance independent of his earnings. You will rarely, if ever, hear a beloved dad's net worth listed in his top five attributes. In fact, I have yet to hear anyone who was reminiscing fondly about their father's good traits ever bring up the size of his paycheck. So I grow very weary of dads being reduced to dollars and cents.

There's a wonderful book by Bill Bennett, The Book of Man, that captures the essence of admirable masculine qualities by exploring great works and writings of various men throughout history. If you're hunting for a Father's Day gift this year, I recommend that you give it a glance. Men, especially fathers, deserve all the encouragement they can get in these troubled times.