Thursday, June 15, 2006

Fatherhood Renewed

As we approach Father's Day, sentimental stories will abound, along with feminist and post-feminist reflections on fathering and maleness.

Current crises in education and in family stability are causing many to wonder if the androginization experiments of the last 50 years have been helpful or harmful.

"New" research is "discovering" what every rational parent has known for millennia: boys are different from girls and both lads and lasses need positive male influence for their psychological well-being.

The last half-century is not all a loss - women do have more legal and social protection, educational opportunity, and improved employment prospects is some western countries.

But there are more ominous consequences of social experimentation and secularism:
  • No-fault/one party divorce and ease of remarriage and "alternate" living arrangments have brought great chaos to the psyches of our children. Men in particular have forsaken their responsibilities.
  • Sexual liberation is an oxymoron. By its very nature, sexual intimacy is much more than a momentary pleasure The coasening of our sensibilities and separation of sex and family ties has produced and confused, hedonistc generation that is urged to "think for themselves" about where they fit on a spectrum of gender/identity choices.
  • Even in fairly stable homes, a fair and realistic assessment of male and female expectations and roles is hard to find. Somewhere in between "burning man" machismo and "queer eyes for the straight guy" is a clear pathway of peace for men and women.

Back to Father's Day. We need to celebrate the special role of fathers, enjoying the fact that they are

  • Men. Yes, males, with all the challenges and joys of that gender. There is no one stereotype, but we need to honor the fact that maleness is part of Creation, not the Fall (for all of you armchair theologians)
  • Husbands. The best way to love children is to love their mother unconditionally and prove that love in sacrifical service. If the marriage is strong, children will feel secure.
  • Dads. We are irreplaceable, whether we fix cars, do origami or wrestle on the family room floor.
  • Humans made in God's image - fantastic and flawed, infinitely valuable and imperfect - and capable of enormous good.

Let's honor Dad this week!

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