by William Skink
The role of being a father is changing, hopefully evolving a bit as men get more hands on with the nitty-gritty of dirty diapers and late-night cry sessions. From the link:
Several decades of encouraging equality have paved the way for the changing role of fathers. Studies of undergraduates have shown that men (and women) became more egalitarian from the 1970s through the 1990s.
“Since the 1970s, we’ve been raising our kids with the idea that women can do anything, including having any career they want,” Smiler says. Over the last 10 years, we’ve gotten used to seeing women as CEOs, secretary of state, and even heads of state. That shift has influenced men and their ideas about fatherhood.
“Many men have also begun to express a desire for greater connection to their fathers and, in turn, have sought to ‘do’ fatherhood differently for their kids,” he says. “They don’t want to be that emotionally distant dad whose conversations only last for three minutes.”
While a lot of the changes are good, economic stressors have not changed for the better, especially for the traditional role of dad as the main provider for the family. Now, two-income households are the norm:
The two income household is now the common default for Americans. However, in many cases the two income household has arisen primarily for economic necessity. Many households today simply cannot get by on one income earner. Especially if a family has children, childcare is expensive and a good portion of any additional income is diverted into this expense. The decline of the middle class household would be more dramatic if it were not for the emergence of the dual income household. Given demographic trends, it appears that we have peaked in this category and many young Americans have no choice but to live in households with multiple streams of income. Many Americans learn the hard way that the two income household may actually be a trap.
For struggling dads in Bozeman, they have Batman enthusiast and former blogger, Patrick Duganz, to help them, as this article from earlier this year explains:
Hung above social worker Patrick Duganz’s desk in the Gallatin County Health Department is a quote from anthropologist Margaret Mead, to the effect of how teaching men to be good fathers represents “the supreme test of any civilization.”
By that standard, his job — as the department’s “dad liaison,” or, technically, “father engagement specialist” — is among the most important in town.
“We know we get the best outcomes if everybody is doing well in the family,” he said. “We help the parents so that the child succeeds.”
To that end, his job is all about working to support dads, especially new fathers or those stepping into an active caregiver role for the first time, helping provide them with the skills to be the sort of parent their kids deserve.
I know quite well that being a dad is the most challenging, most rewarding job a man can have. Dads in Bozeman are lucky to have a kick-ass dad like Patrick to help them out
To all the dads out there, enjoy the day and do your best because the world our kids will inherit is broken and they will need all the love and support we can provide them.