June 24, 2015
By Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Every year, equal parenting advocates anticipate Fathers’ Day with a mixture of joy and alarm. The joy of course is because fathers across the country are acknowledged and valued for what they are — one of the two most important people in their children’s lives and vital to their well-being. The alarm comes from the sad fact that, every year, there are some who seize on Fathers’ Day as an excuse to denigrate fathers even more than usual.
But this year, in keeping with what I see as a cultural sea-change in attitudes about fathers and shared parenting, the anti-dad crowd was mostly silent. Indeed, compared to previous years, it was almost non-existent. The number of anti-father messages was vanishingly small. Yes, Angel Soft toilet paper ran an ad pointedly extolling single mothers, making clear the attitude that fathers don’t matter. And of course the feminist site Jezebel took the opportunity to refer to your dad as a “Piece of Sh*t.” Classy, very classy. And the New York Times mostly restricted Fathers’ Day messages to shopping tips, carefully avoiding ideas of any greater depth or importance.
But those negative/dismissive messages were tiny islets in an ocean that not only got across the point of Fathers’ Day, but the importance of fathers. From all around the world, in media outlets large and small came avid, heartfelt support for fathers. From the Huffington Post to the Times of India, from Newsweek to Stars and Stripes, from the New York Post to the Denver Post and seemingly countless other news sources, the message ranged from respectful to laudatory. All valued fathers and their importance to their children.
That of course happens every year, but this year, those opposed to children having meaningful relationships with their fathers were almost completely silent. That is a change. It’s a change that means the battle for equal parenting is being won.