This is the first in a series of daily articles celebrating Father’s Day 2009. You can read the rest of the series at: http://thefatherlife.com/mag/category/fathers-day-2009.
I’m amazed at how the social norms around fatherhood in our society continue to change at such a rapid pace. It’s a good thing. I started writing this column exactly a year ago. The year before that we’d just launched TheFatherLife.com in order to get better media content out there for today’s dads. Time Magazine just put out a cover story called “The Future of Work.” In it they delve into the fact that more and more of today’s workforce are demanding flexible hours, wanting to work from home, and basically getting the career and family balance that they want. And a lot of them are guys. That article wouldn’t have been on Time’s cover a few years ago. Fatherhood is changing.
How is it that fatherhood has changed? I think it’s taken a few generations of fathers realizing they want to be more involved in their kid’s lives. It’s also taken a few generations of sons understanding that they want more time from their fathers, knowing that when they grow up they’ll find a way to make it work. It’s taken a new breed of business leader who encourages their workforce to be as involved with their families as they are with their careers and gives them the flexibility to make that happen. Fatherhood is changing.
The internet has played a tremendous role as fathers have more and more access to parenting content and dad blogs online. Several years ago there was only a handful of great fathering content online. Now there’s an explosion of it. And as the internet has allowed us to customize how we consume content we can still tune into the latest in diaper bags right alongside updates on the NBA playoffs. And we can have it all fed to our iPhone or Blackberry. Fatherhood is changing.
Dad’s conversations have evolved a lot as well. We still talk about sports, beer, and politics, but there’s a lot of parenting discussion as well. And not in an awkward way; it’s the norm. Used to be that those details were left to the ladies. Fatherhood is changing.
Generation X has played a big role as well. That little group of slackers (I can say that because I am one of them) born between 1965 and 1978 is a pretty stubborn group who doesn’t take no for an answer. When faced with having a successful career or spending time with family, Gen X’ers have been finding ways to change the rules and get both… and now that’s rapidly becoming the norm. Fatherhood is changing.
As we celebrate Father’s Day this month, let’s celebrate that the rules of fatherhood are changing. Let’s celebrate that we’re living in a time when dads don’t just bring home the bacon anymore but are finding the flexibility to be thoroughly involved with our families. It’s a cool time to be a father, not only because of our kids and our families, but because we’re the ones who are changing the face of fatherhood.
Happy Father’s Day!
Image credit: Theophine Sebastian, SXC
Ben Murphy, founder of The Father Life, is an Adventure Athlete, Writer, and Wellness Advocate who used to be obese. You can ask him your questions at www.BenMurphyOnline.com. He lives in upstate New York with his wife and three daughters.