This is another in that category of posts in which I gripe about a thing which has the appearance of being a strawman because by the time my dander is well and truly up I can no longer dig up the articles or tweets that irked me in the first place.
Yesterday was, of course, Father’s Day. In the Actuary household, it was also my oldest son’s birthday, so we combined the two, sort of — my husband and son went on a bike ride (which they like to do together occasionally so as to not have to deal with the slowpokes in the family, myself, yes, included), and then we all met up for lunch, where we watched the Germany-Mexico World Cup game (yes, it would have been better if Germany had actually won). Afterwards, we bought tickets online and again split up to meet at the movie theater to watch Solo, except that the air conditioning wasn’t working in that theater, so they refunded us and gave us vouchers to use later in compensation, so that was at least a good effort.
But, of course, you know you’ve seen the articles on how women who are single mothers should be honored on Father’s Day, and the complaints about how children without fathers shouldn’t be made to feel left out on Father’s Day, though the chorus seems weaker than the corresponding complaints about Mother’s Day, which I suspect is just because school is already out and children are less likely to be doing crafts, even though there are certainly far more children without fathers in their lives than without mothers. (Of course, on Mother’s Day you also get complaints about the lack of special honors for women who are not mothers. Either, we hear, Mother’s Day is bad because it implies that the only quality of a woman that is valuable is her mothering care of her children, whereas we should be celebrating the voluntarily childless and consoling those involuntarily so; or Mother’s Day is bad because we should honor all of the ways in women care for others.)But let’s start with this: do you have a father? Is he living? Did he do an OK job raising you, or at least make a good effort or have a few redeeming qualities? If so, do something to show your appreciation to him. Do you have children, and is their father trying his best at fatherhood? If so, do something to show your appreciation. If neither of those two categories applies to you, but you have a platform to share your opinions on the world (nationally-syndicated opinion column, small-time blog, Facebook account), then give some support to fatherhood. If you have the interest, learn about an organization that helps fathers develop parenting skills, or if they’re poor, helps them gain job skills to support their children, and consider supporting it.
If none of this feels relevant to you, then walk away.
After all, consider Veterans’ Day. Not all of us are vets, nor do we all have a veteran in the family. We do not feel compelled to say, “well, in order to be fair, there should also be a day to honor community volunteers, or firefighters or actuaries, so that everyone has a Special Day.” Because there does not need to be a “fair” and equal allocation of Special Days, nor does everyone get their turn at being the honoree of a Special Day, nor should all Special Days be structured in order to ensure that everyone has someone to honor on that Special Day.
And now I’ll get off my soapbox — about this issue at least.
Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fathers_day_father_with_kid_on_lake.jpg; By Laubenstein Karen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons