To all the hardworking, loving dads out there—Happy Father’s Day! I hope you’ll enjoy being pampered today, and that you’ll have a chance to pause and reflect and treasure your experience of parenting.
My own dad was loving, nurturing, and affirming to me, and that has served me well for a lifetime; I’m eternally grateful. Although my dad is no longer living, his love and affirmation are his legacy, as is the way he so often filled our home with laughter and joy.
Being a parent is a tough job. It requires many skills, commitment, and persistence. It also requires a culture that collectively respects and supports parenting; no family exists in a vacuum. Let’s pause on this Father’s Day to remember our collective role as citizens to support families and communities, to work for economic justice, to end systemic racism and the cradle to prison pipeline that disempower many families among us.
The importance of fathers is sometimes underrated, and I was glad to see an article by a pediatrician in the New York Times this week about a class that is encouraging and instructing dads-to-be. Here’s the article, and I’m also copying my comment below. They posted it, but some readers had trouble opening it.
June 14, 2018, Comment by Vivian Peters:
It’s great to read about such vital and frequently overlooked issues being addressed. Bravo!
One important point that wasn’t covered in the article–and I hope it is covered in the class–is the value of teaching expectant dads how to take on the subject of postpartum contraceptive planning. Becoming the best dad possible can hinge on not having the next child too soon, yet fathers’ role in addressing this is too often ignored. I especially appreciate your remarks about the importance of increasing eye contact with males during couples’ doctor visits.
Historically, education about family planning has been targeted to women. That’s changing, but not fast enough. Many of the most effective methods of contraception are used by the female, so when males learn that, they often figure, “It’s up to her.”
For 15 years as a sexual health educator I worked effectively helping people see that even if the method is used by the female partner, males can make an enormous difference by using their voice, caring, and supporting their partner throughout the process.
We need to be talking to our sons as much as our daughters, and to fathers as much as mothers.
I address the importance of male involvement in more detail in the chapter titled “Those Quiet Boyfriends” in my new book “OOPS! Tales From A Sexpert” by Vivian Peters. My website is VivianPetersOops.com and I’d be happy to hear from readers.