The role of the dad in families is rapidly changing. I know, state the obvious, eh? More fathers are opting to be the stay at home caregiver, there’s an increased interest for dads to be a bigger participant in their children’s lives, and more men are questioning their priorities. And that’s a good thing. Because if we were just continuing to follow along in the same parenting styles as our own parents, our children wouldn’t get the advantage of our own evolution as men and as fathers.
A new film, The Evolution of Dad, takes a hard look at the changing role of fathers, giving us a glimpse into the lives of dads who aren’t just playing lip service to fatherhood – they’re taking very active roles in what’s probably the most important job ever: raising human beings.
I got a chance to view a screening of The Evolution of Dad, and my first thought was, “It’s about time.”
Sure, there are plenty of books about fathers and fatherhood (but not nearly the number of titles as there are about mothers and motherhood), but this film is full of interviews with dads who have broken with tradition and chosen to be active, engaged fathers. It’s also got some great insights from experts in fatherhood and men’s issues, some of which are eye-opening, especially for those who haven’t explored the issues of what it means to be a good man, or a good father.
“Almost 100 years after an outspoken woman from Washington State decided that her father, a single and devoted parent of six, deserved to have a day dedicated to him similar to Mother’s Day, we follow Glazer’s personal journey as he explores the idea of how fatherhood has grown and changed over the years. What does it mean to be an involved American father today? How do dads deal with the challenges they face now, and how many of them are the same as those they faced so many years ago? Glazer discusses these questions, and more, through the words of fatherhood and parenting experts and the struggles of real dads.”
I watched The Evolution of Dad with my wife, and I kept glancing over at her as she caught pieces of the fatherhood puzzle, nodding her head in agreement with what was being portrayed in the film. And because sometimes our significant other won’t take things to heart if we tell them, only when they hear if from other sources, I felt grateful to have someone else verbalize some of the challenges and difficulties of fatherhood, such as the fact that many of us equate being a good father with our earnings (and as a consequence, our feelings of being ‘failure’ as a father when we’re not able to provide materially for our families in the way we would like to).
I really enjoyed The Evolution of Dad, and thought to myself “What a wonderful world it would be if more men made fathering a bigger priority in their lives.”
I know that my own journey of fatherhood would probably have been smoother if I had realized earlier that I wasn’t the only one struggling with these challenges, and saw the connection to other men and their own feelings on the subject. And having some historical perspective of fatherhood over the years made me realize how much our role has been shaped by our culture, and how hard it is to break out of the cultural norm.
The only issue I had with the film was that it tried to cover too much ground – the section on stay at home dads could have easily been its own feature. But that’s a small complaint, as the film was well done and the flow was easy to follow.
The Evolution of Dad is a film that ought to be watched by all fathers and mothers, and by young men and women as well – there are lessons for the dads and moms of the future, because parenting isn’t something that’s taught to us very well while growing up. It doesn’t have any easy answers to better fathering or being a more engaged dad, but I think you’ll walk away with a bunch of questions about your own role (or that of your husband) in the family. And knowing the questions is half the battle.