The Championship Fathering blog by Carey Casey
Have you noticed changes in the ways fathers are portrayed in the media? I believe it is changing for the better, and from what we have seen lately, this Sunday’s commercials will provide some powerful examples.
There’s one from Toyota challenging men to make #OneBoldChoice to be a dad. Dove Men+Care is proclaiming that guys demonstrate #RealStrength when they care for and interact with children. Nissan is putting out a series of #WithDad videos that celebrate involved fathers. And you might remember the amazing #HowToDad commercial from Cheerios last summer. (See the end of this blog for several of those videos and links to more.)
You can judge for yourself whether these are great companies or great products, but here at NCF we’re all very encouraged by this trend—and these videos, which are really inspiring.
For sure, this is a far cry from the images of fathers that many of us saw in the media growing up, which usually were not very positive. There have been one or two good dads portrayed on TV through the years, but for the most part the best we could expect to see was a decent provider who occasionally delivered a nice speech when his kids strayed from the right path.
Much more common was the dad who, if he was present, wasn’t really engaged in his kids’ lives. He might have stepped up to help solve a problem, but he wasn’t involved in daily child care tasks and certainly wasn’t intentional about building relationships with his children. Usually he stumbled around his family responsibilities without a clue, an easy target for punch lines.
So now, fatherhood has started to flourish in some sectors of the media, and it’s a great sign. We’re on board, and we plan to contribute many more positive messages about the important role that dads play.
What’s responsible for this shift? And is this a case of media shaping the culture or responding to it?
One blogger believes we can credit social media. Thanks to all the photos and videos and comments on Facebook and Twitter and everywhere else, we’re seeing and hearing about dads being highly involved in their kids’ lives—and loving it. Helping with homework. Dancing around the living room with the kids. Yes, changing diapers. Having a blast driving them to school. Or simply commenting and tweeting about time they spent with their family and how much they value their role.
More and more dads are doing these things, and we’re all getting the message that it’s cool to be an involved dad. Maybe we see something we do in one of those comments, photos or videos. And gradually, more commercials and marketing campaigns are celebrating dads being dads.
That explanation makes some sense, although I would like to believe these are all signs of success for a pro-fathering movement that began some 25 years ago. That’s how long we’ve been doing what we do here at NCF—inspiring and equipping fathers, grandfathers and father figures to be actively engaged in the life of every child. I believe the investments made through the years by this organization and others like us are making a difference. Collectively, we really are changing the world one dad at a time, and it’s good to see that maybe the message is gaining some momentum.
Does this mean all dads are committed to their children? No. Is the crisis of fatherlessness any less urgent? Absolutely not. But here’s to hoping we’re moving in the right direction.
So, my encouragement for you today is to simply keep up the good work. Keep promoting responsible fatherhood online, whether you do it through a video, by posting a photo, or leaving a comment somewhere.
And more than that, keep on being the best commercial of all by living out Championship Fathering by loving, coaching and modeling for your kids, encouraging another child outside your family, and enlisting more dads to join the team. Social media is one thing, but why not also be a contagious, living example of what it means to be a good dad—when you’re at work, at the store, at your child’s school, at your child’s games and events, at the gym, at church … everywhere.
Together, little by little, we are changing perceptions of fathers. And that’s going to make a difference for children.
Make sure to watch the videos below. (And I suggest having some tissues nearby.)
What other positive signs have you seen about fatherhood? And how are you spreading the message? Share your thoughts at our Facebook page.
- Share these videos (and this blog) with other dads you know and get their thoughts.
- Add one simple action to your daily routine that helps you bond with your child—like spending 5 minutes at the end of the day, one-on-one, just catching up.
Toyota: #OneBoldChoice to be Dad, extended cut
Dove Men+Care: #RealStrength
Carey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization seeking to improve the lives of children and establish a positive fathering and family legacy that will impact future generations by inspiring and equipping fathers and father figures to be actively engaged in the life of every child. We encourage you to help us change the culture of fathering in America by joining the Championship Fathering Team. You can also sign up for NCF’s Today’s Father Weekly email here.