If you don't like the way I do it

June 13, 2013

sunlight in the woods

The diaper might be on backwards, but it's on. Your three-year-old daughter's hair isn't combed and she's wearing sweats, but they're new sweats and you made it to church on time. You know your friend called while you were out and that you're supposed to call her back, but there's no name or number on the notepad.

Dad's on duty.

Is he doing it wrong? It's easy to rush to that conclusion, isn't it? Until we realize that maybe in our rush to judge-in our poorly disguised power grab-our kids might be missing out on something different, maybe even something better.

Dads are spending more time with their children than their fathers did, nearly triple the amount of time, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey and analysis. Does that number surprise you? It did us. And they're doing more than double the housework their fathers did. We're not saying things are equal or perfectly balanced (that's a conversation for braver times!). What we are saying is more involvement at home means more time to put their paternal stamp on things.

woman reading

And that doesn't look the way it looks when we do it. That is a good thing. So say studies on how dads impact our children's well being:

"Children with involved, caring fathers have better educational outcomes. The influence of a father's involvement extends into adolescence and young adulthood. Numerous studies find that an active and nurturing style of fathering is associated with better verbal skills, intellectual functioning and academic achievement."

And beyond the basic roles we've carved out for ourselves at home, we can see the way our husbands and other dads have shaped our children's lives. You've seen it too. The can-do approach to tough 4th grade math problems, turning a grocery trip into a scavenger hunt, surprise snacks for the car ride. He's the guy who flips the pancakes, does the best bedtime story voices, or knows just what to say at the end of a tough day. This is when we realize that it couldn't matter less who's right or wrong or how things get done. We are incredibly lucky to have these men in our lives.

Now if they could only take a decent phone message. Wise salutes all the dads out there who do it their way. Happy Father's Day!

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