November 11, 2004

On Being an Involved Father

I believe that I'm pretty important in my daughter's life. Certainly at this point, I'm a pretty big part of her world. Of course, right now her not yet six-month old world isn't expansive, but I'm pretty important in that small world. I intend to continue this trend, by working towards becoming a stay-at-home dad (or 'rebel dad' as some are calling it), and by just being around and involved in her life.

Fathers are important, and I don't think that this is fully recognized by our society. Father's should just have a token place in the family, just a seat at the dinner table (not that anyone eats at the table anymore...), or just a bankroller for the family's expenses. Children need fathering, and if they don't get it as much as they need it, they have a very difficult time when they grow up. It's tough to know how to deal with men (as a woman or a man), if you didn't have a good father to show you. It's tough to be a man if you didn't have a father show you how, and it's difficult to be a father if you've lacked a father.

And what (besides being a father) has me thinking about this? Verizon DSL.

Yes, Verizon has a couple of TV ads that I've been lucky enough to catch during one of the recent football games. One shows a daughter and mother trying to get their idiot dad/husband to not bother the daughter, and the other shows a father being rejected from the family's group-hug.

These ads are suggesting that fathers are second-class parents, and that's just not the case. Certainly there are some idiot fathers, and some fathers that don't get into the group-hugs, but to send the message to people that fathers aren't really part of the family, that's just not acceptable.

I wrote Verizon an email. You can too, Bill Kalu is the Marketing Director for Verizon DSL in Michigan.


At 3:16 PM, Jeremiah said...

Here's the comment that I got from my email to Verizon:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us about Verizon's "The Elliotts" television commercial. We appreciate your concerns and that you took the time to convey them to us. We can assure you that it was never our intention to insult anyone with this ad, nor to portray fathers as inessential to families.

Thanks again for sharing your point of view.

At 3:45 PM, John Holt said...

I think the socialization of men in America is really discomfiting with what we expect and need parents to be to their kids.

Women have a huge burden in dealing with physical pressures, but men have a large burden do. Except theirs isn't as publicized. Men are expected to be emotionally self-sufficient, distant even, while they're single. And after 10-15 years of being trained to not get too caught up in other people's lives, they're supposed to turn that on its head and devote everything to family? It's a tricky turnaround, I would imagine.

You seem to be doing a good job of things, though. Good work emailing Verizon.


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