June 16, 2019
Father’s Day was fun for Gary because he was given special attention by his family. He is one of many Americans who are reported in recent studies that found that in this era, 70% of respondents “said their role as a parent was either important or very important,” that this role was very important to their identity. The study published in a June 16 Deseret News article by Jennifer Graham concludes that nowadays, parents are “predominantly concerned about what goes on in their homes and find satisfaction and pleasure in the rearing of children, despite stresses.” In the further past, fathers were “supposed” to be involved in other aspects of life than children, but very involved fathers have been growing more common.
In fact, “children benefit when parenthood becomes central to the father’s identity, and this begins even before the child’s birth. . . . One thing we know is that when fathers develop an identity earlier, maternal health is improved, women are less likely to get unnecessary C-sections, babies are less likely to be low birth-weight and more likely to be born on time.”
These findings amazed me. Having been reared with an invested father (until he died) and later step-father and having had a husband who would come home from work, lie on the living room floor and wrestle with the kids until they grew too big, I expected affectionate fathering. Gary would encourage prayer at family dinner (and other meals as possible) and led Family Home Evening as well as going on high mountain camping trips, still a treasure of our family memories.
Nowadays, fathers change diapers and tend babies far more than in the past. Maybe that’s a benefit of women’s rights movement. We do expect more of fathers than that they give financial support and see to the car. As well, a greater percentage of women are outside employed even after a child is born. To have happy homes, it makes sense for men to pitch in more around the house and help with the chores.
Having been reared in the olden days when women stayed home with the kids, it seemed natural to me to continue even when we didn’t have kids in the home. We got used to the old ways, and I still do 99% of food preparation and housework. Gary is my computer “system manager” and is on call whenever I can’t do something, so that sometimes takes many hours. He does other chores such as taking out the garbage for which I am grateful. But the pattern itself remains the same as before he retired just because, I believe, we were used to it. Besides, the single women in our town home development many times don’t bother to cook. TV dinners and other prepared foods are okay when they don’t have the incentive of preparing for others. I’m interested in cooking mostly because I want to keep Gary healthy and go along for the ride.
Still, though without children in the home, Gary remains a father, very interested in our kids, watching them on Face Book, praying about problems, keeping track. He was reared without his father in the home except on every-other weekend. Even that little attention still produced a couple of children Bill and Meda Allen could be proud of. It isn’t surprising, then, that Gary and I have children we are proud of and, even more, admire. They turned out better than their parents. PMA