My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, “You’re tearing up the grass.” “We’re not raising grass,” Dad would reply. “We’re raising boys.” – Harmon Killebrew
The late, great Baseball slugger, Harmon Killebrew, purportedly was fond of repeating this anecdote about his Father. If I were to have the chance to ask him a question, I would ask “And how did your Mother respond?”
I’ve heard this anecdote before, but never really understood the bigger picture regarding this interaction between a Mother and Father in raising children…until I had one of my own. As the married Father of a 2 year old toddler, this simple anecdote has become my guiding principle…my personal Parental paradigm if you will.
Not a day goes by in which I reflect with gratitude on having discovered “the red pill” on teh interwebz before having a child and embarking on the dramatic lifestyle shift that comes with being married with children.
In my former “blue pill” days, the definition of Father in my brainwashed mind, was nothing more than the duty to provide material support and sustenance so that the wife could adequately have enough resources to raise the kids. Other than being a provider, our mass media culture pushes a message that essentially says that “good Parenting skills” are basically the domain of the feminine. Nurturing, loving, bonding, care-giving are all things women are superior at providing for children. Men are best at sticking to working to pay the bills. This is the feminist narrative writ large, and as we all well know, entrenched as a bedrock principle in our legal system as well. Being a Father means first and foremost, a financial obligation.
Even President Obama, a man who has basically done anything and everything Feminists have demanded of him upon taking office, gets criticized for daring to suggest otherwise.
Take this Atlantic story, Are Fathers Necessary? A paternal contribution may not be as essential as we think. By Pamela Paul
Fathers, Barack Obama intoned in a 2008 Father’s Day speech, are “critical” to the foundation of each family. “They are teachers and coaches. They are mentors and role models. They are examples of success and the men who constantly push us toward it.”
None of this would seem particularly controversial. Nor would the ominous statistics Obama reeled off about kids who grow up without Dad: five times as likely to live in poverty and commit crime, nine times as likely to drop out of school, and 20 times as likely to wind up in prison. Obama was citing a commonly accepted and constantly updated body of research. The effectively fatherless Obama is clearly a freakish outlier. As for the rest of the fatherless: insufficiently breast-fed, apt to develop attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, unable to form secure bonds, lacking self-esteem, accident prone, asthmatic, and fat.
Having never watched more than 60 seconds of any speech this President has given since taking office, I can say that the above quotation is something I can at least partially agree with. From what I understand, he’s got the effects right from Fatherless household statistics, it’s the cause he’s got all wrong, as he blames the Father’s themselves for causing all these pathologies. We who are in the reality-based community, know damn well that the Fatherless home is not the result of an epidemic of “Deadbeat” prone males impregnating women and irresponsibly running off, but rather the result of a welfare system and a family court system that subsidizes and offers incentives for women to have children from obviously irresponsible men, and/or to deliberately remove the Father’s from their homes if they become unhaaaaapppy, while still forcing them to pay for it.
But Mz. Paul takes a different tact to question the necessity of Father’s in raising children:
As Stacey and Biblarz point out, our ideas of what dads do and provide are based primarily on contrasts between married-couple parents and single-female parents: an apples-to-oranges exercise that conflates gender, sexual orientation, marital status, and biogenetic relationships in ways that a true comparison of parent gender—one that compared married gay-male couples or married lesbian couples to married heterosexuals, or single fathers to single mothers—would not. Most of the data fail to distinguish between a father and the income a father provides, or between the presence of a father and the presence of a second parent, regardless of gender.
Drawing on reliable comparative studies, you could say this: single moms tend to be more involved, set more rules, communicate better, and feel closer to their children than single dads. They have less difficulty monitoring their children’s whereabouts, friendships, and school progress. Their children do better on standardized tests and have higher grades, and teenagers of single moms are actually less likely to engage in delinquent behavior or substance abuse than those of single dads. Go, Murphy Brown.
Like any other statistical analysis done to conduct a “study” to support a blue-pill meme to reinforce the Matrix of today’s Brave New World Order, one can manipulate statistics to support any half-baked, social theory they would like.
She cites research that compares children who come from Single Mother homes to Dual Parent Homes as an “apples and oranges” comparison and then proceeds to make outlandish statements purporting to show the superiority of single mothers in comparison to single fathers. Yet to say this is an apples-to-apples comparison is ludicrous.
Single Mothers are far more likely to have the resources provided for her by alimony, court ordered child support and a welfare state designed to subsidize her status as a single parent, giving her much more time on a day to day basis to spend with the children. Single Fathers are far less likely to have alimony, child support, or welfare state assistance (ever heard of a single Father with full custody applying for and receiving WIC benefits? The title of the program itself should give you a clue: WOMEN, Infant and Children.)
It is far more likely that Single Fathers will have to work to provide for their children, which certainly means far less time to monitor, parent and just spend time with the kids. Single Father’s are much more likely to have to depend on extended family members or paid day care and after school programs to raise their kids while they work full time to make ends meet.
Furthermore, on sheer numbers alone, the number of single Father households with sole custody of children in comparison to those of single Mother households makes this so-called apples-to-apples comparison disingenuous. According to the *Wikipedia page for Single Parent:
In 2006, 12.9 million families in the US were headed by a single parent, 80% of which were headed by a female.
Ya think such a disparity in numbers between the two types of households would have an effect in analyzing the statistics? Nah….can’t let that get in the way of reinforcing the feminized mass media narrative that the primary role of the Father is to be the wallet to subsidize the REAL parenting that can only be done by a mother!
There’s also one more factor Mz. Paul utterly fails to mention…just because a house has a husband and a wife in it, does not mean it is a Male headed household.
There are plenty of households in which the Mother wears the proverbial pants and the husband is essentially another one of the kids subject to her absolute authority. His only marker for adulthood status in a so-called equalitarian marriage, is that of provider…to the lifestyle she desires to become accustomed to, in matrimony or in divorce.
Feminism preaches equality, but in practice, an “equal” household is one in which the Mother exercises all of the Parental authority. Mz. Paul makes that quite clear:
Fathers, roughhouse all you want. But we, gatekeeper moms, are in charge of the rest. We could give you detailed instruction, and you still couldn’t possibly do it as well. “Even women who want their husbands to help more with the kids don’t want to give up their traditional authority,” says Stephanie Coontz, director of research at the Council on Contemporary Families.
Traditional Authority? Whose tradition? I thought the traditional authority in the two parent home was the oppressive, abusive and overbearing Patriarchy that needed to be overthrown in the name of equality?
But here’s the real rub of it all…Mz. Paul is certainly correct that a Mother could give a Father detailed instructions on how to Mother the kids, and still not do it as well. Of course.
That’s because Father’s have a different, Gender specific job. If Fathers gave Mothers specific instructions on how to Father the children, she could certainly not do it as well as a Father…and that has nothing to do with “traditional authority,” but rather recognition of the truth that the Genders are different, and each brings a different aspect into the parenting equation. This is the complementary dynamic that children from two parent homes experience; a balance of the feminine and the masculine.
The primary problems associated with all the grim statistics President Obama recites in his “blame the men” Father’s Day harangues, is based on the feminist principle that the only real contribution Father’s make to raising children is material provisioning. This is THE lie of all lies. We Fathers have a role to play in nurturing and care giving and loving. We just do it with a masculine approach.
Which brings me back to Harmon Killebrew’s anecdote. Generally speaking, a Mother’s instinctive mode of parenting comes from a deep-seated biological need to have security and safety from a dangerous world. A Mother’s embrace should be the safest place in the world a young child should feel. The sphere of comfort and unconditional love all children should be fortunate enough to experience. A Mother’s imperative is to shield, protect and fight to avoid danger. To minimize or eliminate risks for her offspring.
These are all good things…but it is in the child’s best interest to have these things balanced out by a Father’s masculine imperative to teach children how to navigate risks, assess danger, and to bravely face the fear of a dangerous world. You cannot accomplish success in any endeavor if you never emerge from the safety and comfort of Mother’s embrace.
As a Father, I’ve come to understand something profound – I cannot give a comparable level of affection and love to my child like my wife can. I won’t even try to do her job, she’d got that one covered well. No, my contribution is different. When the kid falls down, I’m not going to run over and offer comforting hugs, kisses and soft words of reassurance to stem the tears like she does. No, I pick the child up and tell ‘em to stop crying, your alright, let’s go. Of course, this is not say as a Father that I do not express affection at all. Hugs and kisses from Dad are important too, but the role of the Father is different from that of the Mother. A good two parent home recognizes the benefits of the divisions of labor, and lets that which is better at something, do it.
At 18 months old, my child was attempting to climb jungle gyms and ladders. My wife would immediately stop it and tell the kid “NO, stay away! Danger!” My approach? Let the kid climb while I stand beneath, ready to catch the toddler in the event of a fall from a dangerous height. Mother would have the kid never attempt to brave any heights for fear of the potential danger. As the Father, I let the kid fall from a small height, an unforgettable lesson about the Law of Gravity which cured the kid from being careless and less deliberate on future climbing excursions.
Another difference is the Mother’s nesting instinct versus a Father’s exploration and hunting instinct. This, I believe, is where the entire notion of helicopter parenting comes from. When a mother’s emotional state dictates the tone of the home, when her concern for maintaining an immaculate nest, and where all risks and dangers are to be avoided, you get sheltered children afraid of autonomy, independence or braving the outside world.
Another aspect is modeling the way in which you as a Father, relates to the opposite Gender, the Mother. If you understand how to avoid becoming just another AMC, your progeny should have a better shot at developing the social skills to relate to the opposite gender much better as they get older and begin to form relationships to make their own families. By not being an Average Married Chump, your boys will grow up with the example on how to deal with feminine emotional turmoil, and your girls will grow up to seek out men who have those same traits as well.
Fatherhood is about more than being a provider. It’s about balancing out the mothering to keep it from becoming smothering. If Harmon Killebrew had grown up in a single mother household, “DON’T TEAR UP THE GRASS!” may have kept him from eventually becoming a hall of fame baseball player.