While the writers of 20/20 are still patting themselves on the back for Friday night’s segment, “D Is For Dad And Dumb,” in which the advice for dads for Father’s Day was “don’t be an idiot,” I have meanwhile witnessed a different version of reality.
For this Father’s Day weekend, I have seen Facebook flooded with pictures of my friends’ dads. Despite being on Facebook since 2005, I never remember a Father’s Day so obviously consumed with people celebrating their dads.
In the midst of the “dad traffic” today, I also saw this really cool quote by Reverend Billy Graham:
“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.”
Despite the reinforced stereotype in media that dads are as about as respectable as Homer Simpson, most people in my version of the real world identify the concept of dad as an honorable thing.
Not to mention, the dads I know in real life have better things to do than to spend much time or energy worrying about how people outside of their nuclear family view them. (As a daddy blogger, I might personally be an exception?)
The dads I know put their family before their own needs and wants, on a daily basis. And that’s normal. It’s not something they talk about. They just do it.
Whether 20/20 ever gets the courage and/or integrity to address the quiet and sophisticated strength of dads in the real world, I don’t know.
It’s funny. I honestly can’t think of one time growing up that my dad ever did or said anything selfish. He only gave and sacrificed for our family the whole time.
That’s the way I have always thought of him and always will.
As I made it clear in my review of the Robitussin commercial “Coughequence #8 Waking The Baby,” dads are trivialized in media, especially in commercials targeted towards women. One of the worst parts about dads being reduced to just standing there and/or making a mess is that this familiar and toxic concept is so easily received by audiences.
If the roles were reversed in that commercial, and it was the mom who coughed and woke the baby, leaving the husband to put the baby to bed alone, it would probably come across as bizarre to viewers.
But since it was the token unshaven dad, it goes unnoticed.
I think it’s weird in the commercial how the mom and dad are putting their baby to bed together, anyway. Why are they doing that? In my version of reality as a dad, Mommy and I took turns back when you were that little.
The only reason the dad was even there was to wake up the baby, creating a plot device in which Robitussin saves the day. So actually, the commercial would have been better had the dad not been there to begin with.
And so the subliminal message continues: Dads just get in the way when they do show up.
Fortunately, The Today Show‘s Matt Lauer evidently disagrees with that marketing approach. He believes that dads are very important, especially to their kids.
It’s the 30 second ad at the top of this page, by the way.
I liked it so much that I checked out the feature The Today Show did on it:
In this clip, Matt Lauer asks Eric Snow, Executive Director of Watch D.O.G.S., to explain just why dads are so important. His reply is fascinating:
“Study after study demonstrates that a child with a positive adult male role model actively engaged in his or her life is twice as likely to graduate high school as a child who doesn’t and is going to develop more socially, mentally, physically and academically… Dads make a huge difference.”
I get it that not every child has easy access to a positive adult male role model who is willing to be actively engaged in his or her life. That’s why I’m a sponsor for Men Of Valor, a mentoring program for children whose dads aren’t in the picture.
Every other Thursday night, you see me leaving right after dinner and you ask, “Daddy going to see his friend?” I mentor a 17 year-old boy.
I do this because I know the difference I can make by helping him develop more socially, mentally, physically, and academic, just by my presence and engagement as a positive adult male role model.