Fathers have their role to play
Here is a thought for Father’s Day from a family counselling website: “Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behaviour, and avoid high-risk behaviours including drug use, truancy, and criminal activity.”
I guess I’m just not clear on the use of the word “involved.” Historically, fathers are shadowy figures who live in the house, who have the final say on important things without ever having been involved in the issue at all.
Be honest now, how many of you actually ever went to your father and said, “Hey Dad, I’m having this relationship issue at school; can you turn off the TV so we can talk about it?” Your Dad would have gone straight to the bathroom.
Fathers don’t like anything which is going to upset the status quo and they don’t want to get involved in anything new, controversial or romantic, and certainly not in anything that is going to involve someone ultimately crying. Unless the solution is that your father can yell at someone or threaten them in some way, they are not interested.
For example, last week there were two news stories about a mother duck trying to get her babies to a water source in downtown Vancouver. Did we see Father Duck in any of these stories? No, because getting the kids from one place to another is Mom’s problem. Dad already has his ducks in a row and he is busy doing those things that Dads do when they are not home. We don’t question that.
No doubt when Mrs. Duck caught up with him she told him they were on TV twice, on the six o’clock news. Dad probably stopped preening for five seconds and said, “Oh really, and how much is that going to cost us?”
For Fathers, it always comes down to money. Comedian Jeff Foxworthy says, “All men eventually become their fathers; the minute my wife told me I was going to be a father, I immediately turned the thermostat down.”
Statistics show that Mother’s Day is the world’s most active day for long distance calls. Father’s Day, not so much. First, Dads don’t answer the phone and when you do get him on there and say “Happy Father’s Day.” he will say, “Oh thanks, did you want to talk to your Mom, she’s right here.” He knows you will start asking questions about dinner or visits or tell him something about the grandkids he won’t remember long enough to relate to his wife, so it’s better to just not get involved and hand off the phone.
If we ever did decide to get up the courage to involve Dad in some situation, our first obstacle to approaching him after dinner was Mom saying, “Shhh, don’t wake your Father up.” It’s actually very cool being a father, sort of like hibernation.
You can wake up in your recliner and find the place clean and quiet and feel like you’ve slept all winter. Things have been looked after and they didn’t ask you for help.
Asking Dad to comment on relationship breakups is like asking Mom to choose the new brake pads for the car. We all have our family roles to play.
Leave a nice card beside his chair and let him sleep; just don’t involve him in anything. At least that’s what McGregor says.