Modern Dad

In celebration of parents across the country, the USBC is hosting a social media advocacy campaign this spring which combines both Mother's Day and Father's Day celebrations into what we've dubbed "Parents' Month." Through the Parents' Month: Celebrating, Centering, Connecting campaign, we are bringing forward the stories of families, in order to identify the ways in which each of us can help shape our policies and systems to work better for more families. Read on for an exploration of what it means to be a “Modern Dad” from Jason Hall of The Adventures of Captain Dad, and share your perspective at the hashtag #Parents3Cs or via our support story collection tool.

Fathers have been around as long as humans have. In the many, many years since the first dads hugged and held their children, a lot has stayed the same, but a lot has changed too.

Modern day fatherhood still encompasses the same things that the old school mindset once did. Hard work and commitment to your family is still commonplace, as it should be, but modern day fatherhood has a few extra spices and twists thrown into it. 

The world we live in is a fluid beast. It changes, and the people who dwell in it change too. The way we work, eat, sleep, talk, leisure, and live has changed since those first fathers laid their eyes on their children. Things like the internet, iPhones, and Kindles weren't around. Most of the old dangers that have always existed for dads are still here, but the internet is a whole different animal. So, not only do we still have to protect our kids from all of the usual dangers, we now have to worry about cyber dangers. Our label as protector still exists but has increased within a modernized and technological world.

The working parent has changed too. Now more families seem to have both parents working, and the number of stay-at-home dads is growing every year. As women have grown to take on our old school traditional role as the breadwinner, we too, have taken up a role as homemaker. I believe that parenting has finally caught up to what makes sense. Why have a set of duties for one gender, and another set for the other gender? It makes more sense to blend the duties, in case a parent were to leave or pass away. It makes life easier, but more importantly, it also helps men appreciate what women do, and women appreciate what men do. I know for me, the more time I spend at home doing what my wife does, my love and appreciation for that lady grows each time. Modern fathers have grown to share the load, not assigned set duties, and blend our roles as homemaker and breadwinner with our spouse. Progress is what I like to call it.

Those aren't the only differences between old school fatherhood and modern fathers. The macho man thing has also become less prevalent. It still exists, but no longer is it cool to call your son girly, make fun of them for crying, spank them to toughen them up, not hug or kiss them, and many other archaic mindsets. Modern fathers seem to be more in tune with their gentle side. It's common for sons to get hugs and kisses from their dads. It's even common for daughters to have dad help with hair and makeup, and not involve mom at all. Spanking and yelling have given way to teaching and talking as gentle parenting, especially in fathers, has grown exponentially. Tough love has given way to hugs and consoling. And I like it that way. We've finally realized that, as men, we don't need to be tough with our kids and spouse to feel like men anymore, which is progress in the right direction.

Magazines, books, and the internet are very helpful resources and create major differences in the way we access information compared with past generations of fathers. We have answers readily available, and forums to ask questions amongst peers and professionals. We seem to share our feelings more readily than men of the past. Now that we share our feelings instead of hiding them, fathers can talk to one another without coming off as weak or unmanly. Blogs have also become a huge resource for modern day fathers, and many actually have their own. Further proof that we no longer deem it unmanly to share our feelings. Not only do we talk with other men, but we tell the world about our parenting journeys. There is a sense of community back in the world of parenting, and I believe fathers opening up and sharing their stories has been a big part of that. 

We still have the same struggle of keeping our family safe, fed, warm, and happy. That hasn't changed, and it never will. How we go about raising those kids and providing for them has shifted slightly from the past, but only for the better. Now families seem to be more balanced, and gender roles are going away. Parenting progress!

Modern day fathers are taking fatherhood in the right direction, and I'm proud and honored to be a part of such an overdue movement! To see gender roles blending and dissolving in families and fathers expressing their emotions, sharing their thoughts, and raising their kids in a more gentle and loving environment is a truly awesome thing!

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