Fathers applauded for taking active role in child-rearing

Q: I have to admit that I am a mom and grandmother whose pocket of pride is nearly bursting its seams.

The object of my love is my oldest son. The fuel for it is taken from all of those nights when he is busy bathing his children, reading stories to them and tucking them in at night while their mom is busy preparing her lesson plans to teach her Grade 2 class.

My son is doing a lot more for his children than his father ever did for him. It was a good day if my son got a grunt goodnight from his dad while he was wandering up to his bedroom.

I am not sure why our son is such a terrific father but I can be certain that I think that it is great. What more can we expect from our dads these days?

A: That your son is more involved with his children than was his father is not at all surprising. The world is changing and a huge part of that change is that many more women are competing in the workforce than ever. In 1948, 33 percent of working-aged women were employed.

By 2001, that number blossomed to 60 percent. Who knows where it is today?

All I know is that the number of working women is higher.

What is more significant is that Mom’s income is more than just the chicken money Grandma used to collect for gathering eggs and selling them to the creameries.

Her income is now a major part of the family finances, and in times as they are now, where winter weather has run afoul of the yearly harvest, without Mom’s salary many homesteads might be on the chopping block at the local bank. Mom is the one who is keeping things going.

Whether or not Mom is working, the children still have to be nurtured, bathed nightly and tucked into their beds for another night of comfort and dreams while they sleep.

In today’s family it doesn’t matter: either Mom or Dad is the lucky one to nurture the children. If Mom is busy with responsibilities from her regular job, Dad just jumps right in and gets the children ready for bed.

On other nights the situation could be turned around. If Dad is busy, it could be Mom’s night to carry out the added family care as necessary. The family needs meals, laundry, the occasional trip to the garbage can and a few moments each night for homework. This is a tough agenda if both parents are working outside the home and not co-operating with each other. But if they are a team, working together and sharing the responsibilities, it is fun.

I do not know where your son picked up those parenting skills you see in him when he is with his children but, like you, I think that it is wonderful.

When his father grunted good night to him when he was a smaller boy, both of them lost. He lost out on some of that nurturing that all dads are capable of giving, and his dad lost out on that moment of fulfillment that is reserved for those parents who believe that loving their children is a participation sport.

Isn’t it great that your son has learned to do so much more with his children?

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