Another Father’s Day has come and gone. Big whoop, right? If your dad is alive you give him a call, send a card or go visit so he can grill up something tasty for the family to eat on Dad’s Day Weekend.
Bada-bing, bada-boom. Done and done.
Back in the day, when my sons were young and impressionable (of elementary age), I used to joke fathers got the short end of the parental stick. For Mother’s Day, teachers make fuss and make sure their students make up cute cards and presents. Since school is out when Dad’s Day rolls around, there isn’t the hoopla around this “holiday.”
Dads are just dads. Think about it: No one throws down when they hear something about, “Yo daddy.” Say something about, “Your mother,” and historically it’s a lead into fisticuffs.
Dads are providers, the proverbial paycheck, and that is about that. I believe this is based on the value society, and dads themselves, place on the male parental unit.
I went to History.com and looked up Father’s Day and found this (first on Mom’s Day): “ . . . in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson approved a resolution that made the second Sunday in May a holiday in honor of ‘that tender, gentle army, the mothers of America.’”
Know when, or what, president proclamated a national Father’s Day? It was 1972 when President Richard Nixon okay’d a day for dads — 58 years after there was a national day for moms.
An article by Mark Manson was forwarded to me earlier this month by reader Pam Belding. It is a rather long read with lots of facts cited. The article, dated June 1, 2017 was headlined, “What’s The Problem With Men?”
Manson wrote more eloquently than I ever could on the subject and spent a lot more time researching stuff to back up his arguments that mirrored what I just wrote a few lines ago. Wrote he, “Men work far longer hours, take fewer vacations and sick days, and suffer worse symptoms of chronic stress and fatigue. Men even die on the job at a startling rate. In short, most men treat themselves as nothing more than a walking paycheck.”
Hey! I was just validated!
Manson’s article, with lots of colorful metaphors (aka cuss words) explored why this phenomenon is. The answers he found are almost evolutionary. I will tee this up for Manson and then let him swing to drive home the point: Start thinking back to a time when Earth was as big as it is now, but populated by about seven billion less people. (WorldMeters.info/World-Population puts today’s population at 7.5 billion plus people. At 8000 BC, it was around five million; 1 AD, 200 million; and when America was less than 10 years old, the world finally reached a billion people.)
Manson, take it away . . .
“ . . . for most of civilization, young men were the ones responsible for protecting society. By the time they were adults, they needed to be battle-hardened and physically strong — the survival of the community often depended on it. As a result, brutal, physical violence among men (through organized sport) was celebrated (and still is today, although this is beginning to change). And men who weren’t able to make the cut were shamed for their physical weakness, for their emotional displays and vulnerable demands for affection. Men were meant to be ruthlessly competitive, and emotionlessly self-contained.
“ . . . this was the hidden cost for their physical, and later political dominance, in human society — as men, we are taught from a young age to hide from our emotions rather than to engage them.”
Today, society has changed so much “in the past couple centuries that a few things are true now that weren’t true before.” (These days, men don’t have to fight off lions, tigers or bears and other tribes who want to take your resources and women-folk.)
“… Men commit suicide at a rate five times that of women while teenage boys commit suicide nine times more often than girls. They are also diagnosed with depression and ADHD at a rate of 4-to-1 to girls the same age. Men make up 2/3 of the homeless population, are more than twice as likely to become alcoholics and are approximately three times more likely to become drug addicts. It’s widely documented that men are far less likely to ask for professional help, medical or otherwise, even when experiencing significant health problems or depression.”
The world changed, men have not.
What the heck, right? It’s no big deal. It’s just men. We are expendable. To read Mason article online, go to markmanson.net/whats-the-problem-with-men.
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Side note: I think we need to change the American observation of Father’s Day to sometime in the fall, say like the third Sunday in October. School’s in session and it’s football season. Win-win.
Side note 2: I had a great Fathers Day with my two boys. Love ’em and being a dad is the single best thing I have ever done.
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