Sunday will mark my 17th Father’s Day, a special accomplishment for me considering that I have been a dad longer than my father was for me.
Even though my dad died when I was 14 years old, I often wonder what he would think about everything that has happened since 1973.
Warehouse-size retail stores and gridlock traffic in the Glendale-Burbank area.
The extinction of LPs and record stores and the birth of cell phones and personal computers.
Explicit lyrics in songs and violent scenes in movies.
Tattoos on people who didn’t serve time in the Navy or in prison.
The astronomical cost of living compared to 1973 when a gallon of gasoline was 38 cents, not enough for a candy bar today, and a home sold for $30,000, currently the cost of an average automobile.
The end of the Vietnam War to the beginning of terrorist attacks.
The resignation of President Nixon and the inauguration of Barack Obama.
Firsts for women including astronaut Sally Ride and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
The legalization of gay marriage and the proliferation of children born out-of-wedlock.
The escalation of crazed individuals murdering innocent groups of people in schools, churches, and theatres.
Dad never saw the completion or destruction of New York’s Twin Towers.
He also didn’t live long enough to see any of his children marry, their children born, or his wife’s final 30 years.
A man of extremely modest means who rarely owned his own house or a new car ended up with three children each of whom have enjoyed a standard of living that would make him burst at the seams with pride.
I’d be curious to find out how my father would react to the relaxed mores in today’s society.
The blurring of what defines a person’s sexual preference, gender and ethnicity with
David Furnish, Elton John’s husband, identifying himself as the “mother” on the birth certificates of their adopted sons and ex-NAACP official Rachel Dolezal born white identifying herself as African American.
What would dad think?
He was of the generation when men were the breadwinners and protectors of the household.
Such father figures were portrayed in movies and television shows as the parent who meted out punishments to the children, but who also offered sage advice, the glue that held the family structure together.
Then the 1960’s happened and it became cool to make fun of establishment figures.
Unable to employ old stereotypes of minorities, dads nicely filled the roles for Hollywood, becoming metaphors for incompetent imbeciles.
The lowering of the prestige of being a father mirrors the decline in two-parent households.
It’s almost as if dad has become irrelevant.
The decline in fathers and their impact on rearing children cannot be overstated in terms of the residual decline in cultural standards.
We should celebrate the contributions of fathers, and encourage their resurgence in the home and in society. Let’s build them up not break them down. Kids need their daddies.
Of all the lessons fathers pass down to their children, the one about mortality is perhaps both the greatest and saddest. Since men don’t live as long as women, their passing is the first death that hits immediate family members. Just as there are ways to live one’s life, there are also ways how to survive a death in the family.
Often it takes the loss of a loved one for those left behind to appreciate the life they have ahead of them.
Still, I wish I didn’t have to learn that lesson until I was much, much older.