Ode to Dad

 

I think Dads often get a bad rap, on television especially. Just watch “Everybody Loves Raymond” or “Jimmy Neutron” or “The Fairly Odd Parents” if you think I’m wrong. Even in pretty respectful shows like “Castle” and “Lie to Me”, Dad still has his “put in his place by the teenager” moments. I fully believe this attitude is a product of the feminist movement and an effort of media and advertising to empower women, a good goal, at the expense of men, not such a good method. What started as a good concept has blossomed into over-compensation, which, sadly, detracts from the original intent and cheapens it. Any debate student will tell you that once you resort to ad hominem attacks, your argument is lost. 
Thankfully, our society finally seems to be realizing the problem with this sort of gender assassination and showing respect and appreciation for dads and men in general appears to be coming back into style. Let’s hope Hollywood catches up soon, they seem to be getting the hang of it with shows like “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood”. (And yes, I’m particularly using kids’ shows as a reference point because I think this attitude shift will especially benefit kids. Young boys, specifically.)
So I’d like to remind us all to verbally appreciate the men in our life this weekend, fathers or not, and encourage them to be confident in their masculinity in a culture that says it’s better to be female than male. Men have an innate need, maybe even more than women, to receive praise from their families. Guys, that means you, too. Encourage your dad, your son, your grandpa, and thank them for being the man that they are. And ladies, be specific on the points that you love about him, and you’ll see that trait more strongly the more you praise it. I’m totally serious, the more you praise the things you like about him, the better man he will be. 
I was talking to a very experienced marriage counsellor this past weekend (ok, my own dad, who has been doing marriage counseling for the last 15 years) and he told me a very enlightening fact. In virtually every failed or failing marriage he has ever seen or heard of, the single unifying characteristic was an overarching theme of negative communication. Couples who speak positively to each other have an overwhelmingly better chance of being successful in their relationship than those who speak negatively. 
So, although thanking him for what he does once a year in June is a good start, make it a habit, and even those habits that you don’t like so much will start to change. Not only that, the more you verbally acknowledge and appreciate his good points, the better your attitude will be toward him. 
So this weekend, in addition to that chic paisley tie that your 6-year-old picked out, treat Dad to a super-helping of compliments and see the great things it does for your marriage and family. 

 

 

 

 

*Note: The author has been incredibly blessed with fabulous and godly men in her life, including grandfathers, father, brother, and father-in-law. If the men or man in your life isn’t so great, if he is abusing or hurting you in any way, please seek help with a trained counsellor or, in more extreme cases, law enforcement. By enabling abuse you are not just hurting yourself, you’re hurting him. Get him help to be a better man.*

 

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My dad and I circa 1994. It takes a manly man to let his daughter put a banana sticker on his nose. 

 

 

 

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