Not too long ago, I was sitting back watching Maury
because I'm a masochist. To the surprise of absolutely no one, the topic was paternity tests. However, this particular segment wasn't some neck-rolling Zaquisha* screaming about how she was a gazillion percent sure that Tyreko* was the father. This time Tyreko was the protagonist. He was sitting there crying about how he wanted to be the father of Zaquisha's child oh-so-bad. And Maury patted him on the back and exclaimed, "I truly commend you for stepping up to be a father. You are a real man!" or something like that. The specifics were lost amongst all the eye rolling going on inside my head.
Over the years, we've been inundated with countless TV specials, talk show segments, and films praising the responsible father. And to this, I have to ask: WHY? As for the basic theory, I get it. One is prone to praise things that rarely happen. But, giving special attention to fathers taking care of their children presupposes that the opposite is the accepted norm. And it shouldn't be.
Though a child physically enters the world through his mother, the mother didn't lay on her back and get herself pregnant. In our society, there is this notion that a mother has a special relationship with her child -- which, I do believe is true -- but, that does not erase the much-needed relationship that a father could provide as well. Each parent is equally responsible for creating said child, thus they are equally responsible for nurturing and providing for said child.
I mean, really, where are all the TV specials for the single mothers grinding out there? Where are their medals and pats on the back? Oh, they don't get any of that? Because they're just doing what they're supposed to do? Hmm, yeah, then the same principle goes for the fathers.
At its core, I think this praise is to inspire more fathers to step up and take responsibility for their
sperm count actions. However, the praise is redundant at best, and regressive at worse. It's excessive, unnecessary, and simply unwarranted.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not promoting the elimination of praising parents (both mothers and fathers) for performing exceptional duties in regards to their children. That's a separate aspect. But, dishing out medals to fathers performing basic fatherly duties is like giving a dog a treat for lifting his hind leg to pee. Bottom line: Our community needs to focus less on congratulating responsible fathers and focus more on making sure that fathers taking responsibility is a default action, not an extra credit assignment.
We'll surely benefit from it. Right?
Love ya like Maury guests love infinite percentages,
*These names may or may not be accurate. More like may not. Actually, more like definitely not. Okay, but the names ain't important. The story is. Holler.