I don’t know that the White House needs to champion dads being dads. I realize that absentee fathers are a huge issue that goes across religious, ethnic and racial lines. But I don’t know that we need a national forum on it. I mean, we shouldn’t need one.
This morning on NPR’s Morning Edition featured an interview with Dad-blogger Doyin Richards of Daddydoinwork.com and Gene Demby by anchor David Greene. Richards came to fame or infamy when a pic he posted in social media of doing his daughter’s hair while wearing his infant daughter went viral last year. He initially took the pic to document for his wife that yes, he could handle it when she was nervous and running late. He said the reactions ranged from racially/socially negative ones and ones saying he was the best dad ever. He found both ludicrous.
While the discussion quickly addressed racial stereotypes, it was something else Richards said that solidified my feeling that we really should not need this kind of hoopla as a White House initiative. Richards said that for dads just doing what dads are supposed to do we should not over-inflate their egos and make heroes out of them. I’ll add that for that matter, mothers shouldn’t be over-praised either.
Because, to quote Chris Rock, “that’s what you’re supposed to do.” Now that’s not to say we can’t be thankful for a good mother or father but should we be saying that a father who can successfully style his daughter’s hair while wearing his other daughter is “best dad ever” is over the top.
Richard’s larger idea was mostly dads should be good dads all the time. When people are watching and when they are not. Not all dads can do their daughter’s hair. But it doesn’t always make or break a good dad. A good dad will sometimes try something uncomfortable to help their child or even wife. Good dad’s come in all shapes and sizes and while gratitude for a good or great dad is always necessary, it should not be excused with effusive praise heaped on for the mundane. Appreciation and hero-worship are not the same things.