How Do You Differ From Your Dad?
This week’s Bunch Poll in the National Post
Ideas about fatherhood have changed pretty radically over the past few decades. Unless you live in the world of Real Housewives, dads are no longer the breadwinners who expect dinner to be ready when they step in the door after work. To use another TV analogy, it’s a progression from Mad Men’s Don Draper to Modern Family’s Phil Dunphy. So how do today’s dads feel they are different from their own fathers? We asked around to find out.
“It’s in the smallest moments that I realize how different, and how much the same, I am from my dad, as a dad. My daughter gets a splinter; I sit her down the same way my father did me, assemble the same tools, ape his bedside manner … and then fail to remove the sliver of wood from my her foot with calm expertise, as he would have. I think my generation has a deeper comfort with the language of emotion than our parents’ did -which is a great thing for our children -but also a greater resistance to fully embracing adulthood, which is what they’ll probably grow up to resent us for.”
Adam Mansbach, author of Go the F–k to Sleep
“I think a tangible variance is our actual personalities. My father was very, very shy and reserved and the result of that was often him not communicating and talking about ‘feelings and things’ with us. I know it was also the generation, but even early on, I think I talk to my kids about a lot more.”
Jim Bryson, musician
“My dad is a wonderful father. He grew up without one of his own, so I think he worked extra hard to be there for us, push us hard and instill in us a sense of intensity, fairness and justice that took me a few decades to really figure out. As a dad, I am overwhelmingly influenced by how I remember him as I was growing up (minus the ’70s flares), though I could use more of his patience on occasion.”
Matt Galloway, host of CBC’s Metro Morning
“I don’t smoke a pipe. I bogart my son’s toys. When I am stern, everyone just laughs. I know how to clean a breast pump.” (“No you don’t,” adds his wife.)
Jesse Brown, journalist, host of TVO.org’s Search Engine
“Everything in my life is about maintaining that balance. Through it all, my relationship with my daughter is more important than anything else in the universe to me. She represents the future. I understand fully that if I can do a good job at raising her that the world will be that much better with her in it. My hyper-awareness of this puts my father in a similar place; that however he participated in my life has brought me to my style of ‘fatherhood.’ ”
Murray Lightburn, The Dears
Photo by John McNab via Flickr