Monday, May 19, 2008

Manic Monday: Play

"Butterfly Kisses, a song by Bob Carlisle that climbed the charts in 2000, received international recognition in both the Christian and secular music industries. The song was about the tender love between a father and his daughter, starting from her birth to her wedding day. Mr. Carlisle said, 'I get a lot of mail from young girls who try to get me to marry their moms. That used to be a real chuckle because it's so cute, but then I realized they didn't want romance for mom. They want the father that is in that song, and that just kills me.'

Our modern society has downplayed the importance of fathers over the past 40 years. Television programs such as Leave It to Beaver, Father Knows Best, and Make Room for Daddy portrayed dads as a wellspring of wisdom, compassion, and guidance.

By the end of the sixties, that began to change. In 1971, All in the Family featured Archie Bunker, a bigoted, bungling oppressor. Then came Tim Taylor of Home Improvement with the recurring theme of Tim messing something up and his wife, Jill, straightening it out. I could go on with The Simpsons, Roseanne, and even the Berenstein Bears cartoons. In the nineties, Murphy Brown (played by Candace Bergen) announced to the world that children really didn't need a father at all. Suffice it to say that now fathers on television are more likely to be portrayed as obstacles than as overcomers of obstacles.

In 1995, about 40 percent of American children went to sleep in homes in which their fathers did not live. The 2000 census showed that 84 percent of children in America who live in single-parent families live with their mothers. The feminist movement has tried to teach women that they do not need men - fathers or husbands. In 2000, an article in Time magazine suggested that remaining unmarried can be "incredibly empowering for women," even when the choice involves raising children without the presence of a father. "Who needs men?" some women taunt.

I'll tell you who- children."

-Sharon James, Dreams of a Woman


Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

all very true!

smiles, bee

Jamie said...

Outside of completely radical feminists, I've often wondered how much of this is bravado. As much as my generation welcomed the pill and the ability to limit the size of families, it also let men off the hook. It wasn't that long ago that "good girls didn't do that" and "good boys didn't ask" at least not until the senior year of high school. There were always more "premature babies" following sudden weddings than abortions, and couples were expected to stick it out "for the sake of the children".

Birth control allowed a large number of men to take a responsibility powder ... it's your problem take care of it. Modern society with its need of working women meant she could support herself even if he disappeared, and finding deadbeat dads was always more expensive than welfare.

There is a lot of blame to go around, and unfortunately, it is the children who suffer.

Kristin said...

Makes me want to cry. Also makes me grateful to live where I do and know my kids will not be raised in that kind of environment.

Maria Hart said...

I responded last night but I think the Internet swallowed my rant. I composed a great essay last night, let me hit the highlights. I'll start off with what I agree with. It is very true, fathers have been downplayed tremendously, particularly in the media. Not only is he seen as an obstacle, he is the jester, the comedic relief, the one who is absolutely clueless to what is going on in his home. Research supports my own personal convictions, that children with involved fathers are much better off. But I need to salute the single parents, fathers and mothers, who somehow are able to fill the shoes of both parents. No it is not ideal, but it can be done successfully. I pray I never have to go through it myself. I like having a father in the home, not only for my children, but because he is my best friend.

As for the blame this article places on feminists, I don't think it is quite accurate. I admit, there are radical feminist that give feminists like me a bad name. Yes, I am a feminist... shocking, since I choose to be at home with my children. However, historically, and across cultures, fathers have perhaps been visible, but not always a presence. The home and the rearing of children have, up until quite recently in the history of the world, been the singular sphere of women. One of the tremendous blessings of feminism is that they have demanded a more active fatherly role from men, and men have absolutely risen to the occasion. I look at the way my husband changes diapers, chauffers, helps with hoomework, cleans the house, comforts tears, plays and wrestles, the list is endless. The home and our children are our, not just my, responsibility.

I think if blame needs to be placed, not that it solves anything, I think we need to look at the broader picture. Disengaged (though often present) fathers AND mothers, agnosticism, and capitalism (yes, the almighty dollar) have all creative a negative environment for children to grow up in. Ultimately, I think credit needs to be given to Satan.. who is exceptionally cunning. He knows exactly what small actions, what combination of factors, all that can be done to tear down the family, brick by brick. And so unfortunately, we are suckers... and children are the victims.

Travis said...

This is well reasoned. I've never cared for the portrayal of men as bumbling fathers.

Britta said...

What an insightful and unexpected entry based on 'play'!

You are the bomb, baby!


Rachel Chick said...

Oh Clancy! We really are kindred spirits!!! I could not agree more and feel like this post was right on. There are definitely some blessings that came through the "feminist" movement, but there have been a GREAT DEAL of negative consequences. I never even realized the lie that the world portrays of both men and women until I got married and Nels brought attention to the way that the media portrays men and husbands. Since then I've thought a great deal about my own role as a wife and mother. Society has skewed both and in the meantime families, children, and both men and women suffer. Thanks for this post. I enjoyed it!