I am married to the most amazing husband anyone could ever ask for and the most wonderful father a kid could ever want! I say this not just because it is Father’s Day on Sunday, but simply because it’s true. Our four children have been blessed by a father who has been fully involved in their lives right from the moment they drew their first breath. And not just the fun stuff like taking them to the park every evening after supper, reading them bedtime stories, coaching their soccer games, or taking them to basketball and hockey and choir. Richard often helped to feed them and bathe them, to get them ready for bed, and even changed their nappies. When our first child was born, the older nurse at the little hospital in St. Marys ON, where Alexandra let out her first cry one bitterly cold winter’s morn, said she was amazed that Richard actually wanted to be there when she showed me how to bathe our baby. Apparently she had never had any father who showed a real interest in the more practical aspects of parenting.
Today of course many Dads take a more active role in caring for their little ones. It is not uncommon to see Dads pushing the stroller or baby pram — I never saw this when I was growing up in the late 50’s and 60’s. That was Mom’s job. But in the 70’s and 80’s, when Boomers started to become parents themselves, things began to change. More Dads, like Richard, decided that they wanted to play more of a role in their young children’s lives. Nowadays it is not uncommon to see Dads do all the things that used to be done solely by our mothers. Many fathers take parental leaves as well so that they can stay home and take care of their infants.
And now that many Boomer men are becoming grandfathers, I see even greater involvement in the lives of their grandchildren. Often retired or semi-retired, these Boomer grandfathers have more time to spend with their grandchildren and are enjoying every minute of it!
This is not to say that many pre-Boomers have not been good parents. I have known many older men who have been loving and devoted fathers. My own Dad would be 104 now if he were still living, and he was always interested in everything my brother and I did and would often play ball with us in the backyard or teach us how to skate. But he was usually the only father in the school auditorium who came to watch opening exercises when his children were giving the welcome. Not only was that not cool back then, but most fathers did not have the kinds of jobs that would have allowed them to go into work a half hour late so that they could get to their kids’ performances. That said, Dad never changed a diaper or prepared our meals.
This is simply to point out that we have come a long way. So hats off to our Boomer Dads and Grandfathers, and hats off also to all the Dads and Grandfathers who have given us a human face to God’s love!