The Modern Day Dad

Written by: Margaret Connolly

The role of Dad has changed in a big way over the last several decades. The average father of today is more involved than his historical counterparts ever were. In University, I read an article for a social history class about the invention and popularity of the family BBQ in the 1950’s. The main premise of this article was the idea that because of a family BBQ gaining popularity, that there was now a place for Dad to fit into family life in the home. Now, Dad had something to do that tied him into what his wife and kids were doing. Not to mention, BBQing was definitely a man’s job – Mother could never operate something so barbaric as a BBQ, afterall …

Because of this small societal shift, there was a rise in the idea of ‘family time’, Dad’s that were engaged with their families – a stark contrast to the damaged and distanced Dad’s of the depression and post war years.

‘Family time’ seems like a sort of obvious thing to do now, in this current culture of ours made up of all sorts of different kinds of families. But, imagine a time when Mom’s were the ones primarily responsible for the care of the home, the children, the cooking, the laundry, the gardening and the list goes on. For the 1950’s housewife, the average woman was home with her children and would have a long list of things to do and things to BE when her husband came home from work. She would need to have the children clean, dressed in fresh clothes, bathed, and maybe even in bed so she and her husband could enjoy a quiet dinner without the children burdening their father because he already had enough on his mind anyway. Dad’s simply weren’t as accessible to their children as many are today.

It’s kind of funny to think of now, since my husband is so involved in the lives of our daughters, and our home. If I can go ahead and toot his horn a little here … my daughters are beyond blessed to have a patient, loving Dad who doesn’t sugar coat things but is sensitive in his approach when advising them. He takes time, even when he’s tired and overwhelmed by his busy days, to help them with projects and teach them new skills. He’s almost always up for a fun game of hide and seek too.

There are a lot of imperfect things about our modern society, and people are so often likely to point out the negatives. But, despite new types of families and family ideologies that might grate against our Christian sensibilities, I see a generation of Dad’s who want to be involved in their kids lives. Dad’s who are trying their very best to do a difficult job, amidst so much pressure from outside sources. I am thankful for progress in our country that allows all Dad’s to have the support they need to do a most important job, and allows my girls to have a close and fun relationship with their Dad. Mostly I am thankful for a Heavenly father who created Dad’s to be both strong, and sensitive; to lead and be lead; to protect, but also who accept protection too. God has overseen the entire development of our modern society and still has a perfect plan in place to love and cherish us all, including all those special Dad’s out there.

“In the fear of the Lord one has a strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.”
Proverbs 14:26