Jun 26, 2013

I was intrigued today when some of the Father’s day salutations arrived through the news media. One ranked the 5 worst TV dads with Archie Bunker receiving the top spot. Another ranked the best TV dads with Homer Simpson, a cartoon caricature, claiming first prize.

I stopped reading any further after seeing this. What are people supposed to think when they see TV dads? Is this not a bit of a stretch, comparing television to reality? Whatever happened to Father Knows Best or Leave it to Beaver? Did these portrayals of fathers not influence generations of mothers and dads? The answer is yes, and unfortunately in a wrong way. What was projected out into the wider population was an image of a perfect father, a perfect nuclear family unit, that successfully struggled against whatever issues were thrown their way.

What is also interesting about these television families is how none of them suffered from any money shortages. A big house with all the trimmings seemed to a given. The father was the bread winner with a stay at home mom who was always available.

Another one of my favorites was Ben Cartwright from Bonanza – a single father raising what appeared to be three adult sons. Go figure.

According to Wikipedia Father’s day originated in a Spokane Washington YMCA gym in June 1910 inaugurated by Sonora Todd who wanted to honour her father who was a single parent that raised 6 children.

Father’s day rapidly evolved to become a second Christmas by the mid-1980s for men’s retailers. In other words it became a commercial event.

Today, father’s day joins a culture that celebrates everything in some monetary way. People tend to buy something for their fathers and/or take them to a restaurant for supper. I am not opposed to this but wish to draw attention to the financial realities of many families today. The credit card far too often funds the festivities adding more debt to the family’s shoulders. Also, approximately half of all fathers (and mothers) have separated or divorced which breeds further financial shortages.

Father’s day, similar to Mother’s day, however, brings attention to families. Children and spouses get a chance to acknowledge their fathers. We need to de-commercialize the moment and pay attention to the gift of time, and what parents do for their children.

Sadly, father’s day also causes tension for many families. For separating or separated families, many of the old arguments come back to life fueling the occasion with enmity. For others, it may resurrect the father’s shortcomings more so than their contribution. And for others, it is not a time of celebration but a state induced day of recognition for fathers who fail to pay child support or spend time quality with their children.

For me, it is like many issues in life, Father’s day provides an opportunity to say thanks to the fathers who love their children and endlessly give their time and financial resources. It is a time for the errant fathers to think again, and get it right this time. Children really need both a father and a mother – a balance.

For those suffering from financial shortages, this is a good time to do something about it. It’s never too late - and I can help. Contact Solutions Credit Counselling today!