News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Father's Day in Sisters: It's cool to be a dad

In a recent magazine, an advertisement appeared with a young man wearing a sling across his chest, carrying an infant. The purpose of the ad was to send the message that it was “cool” to be a dad.

Yes! To be a dad is cool. Where would we be without them (beyond replenishing our species)? Where are we when they are absent?

It’s easy to think of the many practical things dads do — fixing things, earning an income, transporting to and from events, teaching a firm handshake, helping with chores, and giving strong, bear hugs to their kids. I’m not talking about those things. Everything mentioned, a woman could do.

What I’m referring to is what Dan Whitaker spoke of when he penned the words to “In His Fathers Hands.” In that song he talks about, “Fathers of strength and steadfast minds” and the ability to come forth and match “the high demands of love.” Along with strength, he also references gentleness, and the importance of holding young ones in their hands.

Of course, since this is a hymn, those words have a religious connotation. That is not what I am talking about. Here they are used to help us focus on the wonderful “cool” qualities dads bring to a family. Strength of character, the ability to think and give advice, and the gentle touch and care all wrapped up in the love that only a father can share.

Not long ago, in talking to a dad about his adult daughter, he said, “She and I have a special relationship.” What wonderful words to hear. Having watched my husband connect with our children I can visualize what he’s referring to. I’ve observed the same in our son as his daughters have grown.

How interesting it’s been to watch the role of dads change over the years. Back in the sixties and seventies dads spent time with their kids primarily after work in the evenings and on the weekends. They were less involved in daily activities, however, still highly invested. In our family’s situation that meant our kids observed Ted (my husband) spending many hours refereeing at swim meets and monitoring hills as a ski patrolman, learning the importance of volunteering in their community. Of course, there was also a lot of time when they enjoyed cheering together for a favorite team or enjoying the ski slopes as he shared his expertise, helping them learn to navigate the downhill slopes.

Gradually, this mode of interacting started to change, as more women entered the workforce, and a growing number of men became “stay-at-home dads.” Some even attended parenting groups such as the ones I led for Together for Children.

Today it’s not uncommon to see dads pushing baby carriages, including kids while shopping for groceries, wearing infants in slings, and transporting them to sports practice sessions. And changing tables can be found in most men’s restrooms.

I’m hoping we all recognize their importance. Yes, kids are nurtured and fed by moms; however, the contributions made by dads are of equal importance. As one dad said to me just a week ago, “I leave many things up to my wife, and this is what I give to my kids.”

As we celebrate Dad on his day, let’s be sure he gets to do whatever he wants to do. This is his day. I hope that will be something that includes the whole family, however, Dad, if you just want to take a nap it’s OKAY. You’ve earned it.

Yes — dads, you are cool! Thanks to all of you here in Sisters Country. You are not only cool. You are special, needed, and appreciated.


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