Monday, May 18, 2009

The Decline of the American Father

Another one to read in full here.

A couple of key lines from HOME GAME by Michael Lewis about the decline of the status of American fatherhood:

"At some point in the last few decades, the American male sat down at the negotiating table with the American female and -- let us be frank -- got fleeced," he writes.


""Women may smile at a man pushing a baby stroller, but it is with the gentle condescension of a high officer of an army toward a village that surrendered without a fight."

Classic stuff.

Then read this, which is the blog on which I found it. Read the goodness, but there is some ANGST out there!

I admire my friends and my brothers and the fathers that they have become. But something has been lost as fathers shifted from ship captains to oarsmen. I've printed it here before, and I'll do it again now. When I asked my Dad 20 years ago about how to be a good father, his advice was "love your wife". I think that remains true today.


bbauer said...

Dad has become a chump because he was once too much of a gate-keeper. Wives and children are now empowered (consumers).

I hate to sound anti-market, I'm really just anti-marketing.

Anonymous said...

While my children were growing up, my wife was a stay at home mother who took care of all the traditional chores associated with being a mother and homemaker.

When she went to work while I was unemployed for a year, I saw it as only fair that I would pick up the chores. Now that we both work, we share the chores.

The above has nothing to do with being a father, but has much to do with being a good husband.

A good father remembers that he is his children's father not their buddy and will be required (like the commanding officer) to make decisions affecting their lives for which they will hate him at the moment.

Do not confues being a husband with being a father.

..... said...

finally got around to reading these. ANGST is right. Sheesh.
I am not a father yet and only newly a husband, but I've always planned to use my father as the model. He is the counterpoint to the ones described by Lewis et al. They will be my cautionary tale. I laughed reading this because I see these sorts of dads every day in my own neighborhood. They give me the heebie-jeebies.

I agree with anonymous. A father is not a buddy.

My father couldn't be at all my little league games because he had to work. Do I begrudge him that? Do I feel the lesser because he couldn't watch my every at bat? No. Then, that was just the way it was. Now, I have the perspective that it was a choice between providing for his family or needlessly stroking his son's still developing ego. I now realize that it was better that way. I'm more independent because of it. Without him hovering around, I learned that performing one's best was a virtue all its own and not something to be done necessarily in attempt to please him or anyone else.

Stephen Monteith said...

My father was a Navy JAG officer for twenty years, and then he went into private practice. He also devoted a certain amount time to lay service in our church's leadership. Last, but certainly not least, he and my mother were parents to eight children and one foster child. I barely saw him while I was growing up.

He died nine years ago last month. That doesn't bother me anymore. I cried about that at the funeral, and not once since. What brings tears to my eyes today are the times he would take to walk around the neighborhood with me, listening to me ramble about movies I had watched or my theories about what made black holes work, when he probably couldn't have cared less. He did it because he loved me.

"Love your wife" is the way to be a good husband. "Love your children" is the way to be a good father.

tenuts said...

Stephen, my own child does the same thing on our walks. I hope one day he appreciates it as much as you do.

Smoothfur said...

Thairish, You make me proud.

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