We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers. - I Thessalonians 1:2

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Where my dads at?!?

Hey there. Papa E here. So, I have to admit that I've been a bit uncomfortable, since the Hillary Rosen / Ann Romney war of words and resulting media debacle, about my own family's situation. In all the parenting/mommy wars, I see a total lack of the voices of the fathers. And frankly, it's a little disturbing.

As a husband, I have found extreme gratification in supporting my wife through her career, her dreams, her desires, and doing what I can to help during struggles. In fact, I find it to be something I've been called to do.

As a father, I have found great pleasure in being part of the big moments (birth, first foods, walking, riding bikes, going to preschool), and the mundane (changing diapers - I'm actually pretty good at the cloth ones - and giving baths - something else I'm pretty good at). And I have been on both sides of the parenting spectrum, first as a working father, and now as a stay at home dad.

I think we as men have missed a couple of important opportunities here. We haven't defended our wives (or ourselves for that matter) and we haven't stood up to try and end a battle as old as parenting itself.

First off, let's agree that if you are a married man and have children, your wife is a valuable asset whether she works or stays at home. Her opinions matter, her strengths compliment your weaknesses, and her heart is a treasure trove. Cherish it. Seriously; defend her in her womanhood and her motherhood, regardless of what others think.

Second, lets realize how important our role is as well. Fathers, you play a part that no other man can. Your influence on your children is huge, and will quite possibly shape how this argument looks for the next generation. Whether you are a working father or a stay at home father, you are an indispensable part of a team. And as a team member, you defend your teammates; you fight with them, you encourage them, you love them.

Third, let's back out of proselytizing those parents we don't agree with. Some of you mean well. You may feel that you are defending your faith, or even defending what you see as a biblical truth. However, keep in mind that proselytizing in general very rarely results in true life change. You may have every right to stand your ground for your own family's sake, and to raise your children in a manner you see fit, but please avoid the direct anonymous criticism. Your concern or love of your neighbor and consequent civil discussions with him speaks volumes above your threatening rhetoric or your bashing diatribes.

Lastly, let's remember that family dynamics are up to each individual family, and please respect that. No matter how wrong you think they are, your respect of their God-given worth will be the only way to affect change, if change is even necessary.

In my family, it made sense for my wife to stay in a job that she truly enjoyed and had the capability of earning much more than I could, and for me to stay at home with our kids. We both work hard. We both have an understanding of the world from within and outside the walls of our house. Our faith is intimate but informed. Our political leanings are both religious and flexible. Our family puts a big emphasis on love and respect, especially for those we don't agree with. And we focus on who we are, not on what we might "do for a living." If you love your kids and are productive citizens, I respect you. Please do the same for me.

(Sorry, I know you've probably seen this image dozens of times, but it bears repeating.)

- Papa E

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! Just wow. This post is poignant, powerful and moving. You are a wonderful writer and an even better father/ supportive husband. I only wish your views were shared by more. What a blessed and lucky family you have! Two awesome parents indeed. -Cecily