As I write this, the Promise Keepers are organising a rally in my neighbourhood, to restore the role of fathers in families, and 'turn ordinary guys into extraodinary men'. Icky. I don't really want an 'extraodinary' man in my house. I'm a fan of the new breed of dads: the ones who don't feel like they need to call the shots in their homes, who don't feel their masculinity is somehow compromised by being affectionate to their kids and partners, and who don't mind folding the washing while they watch the cricket.
One of the happiest moments of fathering I've ever seen involved a bloke that I fondly refer to as Dynamic Dancing Dunedin Dad. My daughter used to attend a hip hop for pre-schoolers dance class and, to my surprise, most of the kids there (most of whom were girls) were brought along by their dads. As the class progressed, I could see Dynamic Dancing Dunedin Dad (aka D4) tapping his toes. After ten minutes, he couldn't contain himself any longer. D4 leapt onto the dance floor with his little daughter and danced like his life depended on it - like a man who'd spent his life with a secret hankering for hip hop. He danced so hard that his glasses steamed up. It was such a happy moment between a dad and his kid that I've never forgotten it.
- To dads who don't begrudge taking a day off work when the kids are sick, thanks.
- To dads who get up to the baby in the middle of the night without complaining or expecting a medal, thanks.
- To dads who are happy if their sons want to play with dolls, and willing to kick a ball around with their daughters, thanks.
- To dads who understand that kids are things to be loved, not owned, thanks.
- To dads willing to admit that they actually like ANTM as much as their partners/daughters, thanks.
- To dads who appreciate and support the work their kids' mothers do, whether or not they live with their kids' mothers, thanks.