That handsome man in the photo is my dad. It’s Father’s Day again (not sure how mid-June got here so fast) and today Ruben and I are celebrating 23 months of marriage. Dads these days tend to get a bad rap, or no rap at all. They’re often portrayed as buffoons or absolute idiots on television and the object of blame by the very-tired women who are still doing 95% of the housework and childcare and bringing home 88% of the income (these figures are estimates and may not be entirely accurate). Even if your own dad didn’t measure up to your expectations, I’m sure you’ve benefitted from dad energy shared by special men in your life. But I’m about to share a major breakthrough on male/female relationships. (Warning: what you’re about to read is not politically correct.)
About 6 years ago when I was Miss Laura, the 8th grade English Teacher at Merici Academy in Caracas, I got to hear this fabulous, erudite, brilliant woman speak on effectively dealing with machismo in society. (Remember Caracas is in Latin America.) She shared psychological insights. research findings and interesting anecdotes, but what most I remember (and pretty much the only thing I remember) is that she said that it is the moms who are significantly responsible for how men disrespect women. That was news to me. I mean, I never thought about it like that.(…which goes to show the power of rhetoric to make you think!)
And it’s not about blaming women either. Blame is counter-productive. It’s much more effective to focus on responsibility.
But back in the US of A, a couple of Very Recent examples of what she was talking about with moms teaching their sons (here’s the rant):
- A well-dressed mom putting gasoline into her BMW SUV while her 14-year old son listens to his iPod in the front seat. Does she think he’s incapable of learning how to put gasoline in the car or simply that his time is much more valuable than hers? There is probably a far better explanation, but the scenario gives one pause for thought.
- A mom who has a job while pursuing her PhD still finds time to clean the bedrooms of her teen-aged sons every day because "they don’t do a good job." Is picking up one’s clothes such a complicated task that only a mom can do it? How will these young men get the idea that they should help with the housework with this kind of early programming?
So….if you’re a mom, think about what you’re teaching your sons. You’re much more influential than you think.
Meanwhile, here’s what I appreciate about dad energy.
1. Dads play with you when you’re little.
2. Dads don’t do for you what you can do for yourself.
3. Dads help you not to take things personally.
4. Dads focus on your monetizing of whatever it is you’re doing.
5. Dads are good at math.
6. Dads fix things!!!!
7. Dads bring objectivity to almost any situation.
What would you add to this list?
Happy Father’s Day to my dad and all dads, stepdads and foster dads!