The television show "Modern Family" is a huge hit. In fact, it was just named the most-watched TV comedy series in the world at the 54th Monte-Carlo TV Festival.
Both Gov. Mitt Romney and President Obama in the 2012 campaign said they enjoyed watching it.
So, recently, I took time to watch a couple of episodes. Although Hollywood can be counted on for clever lines and a cool “gay” couple, the part of the show that bothered me was the character portraying the dad in the traditional, intact family.
He is an idiot who contributes basically nothing to the family except maybe money. He is basically in the way.
Unfortunately, this portrayal of dads from Hollywood is the norm. Unless there are two of them in the family, the message is that dads are superfluous. Single motherhood is rarely seen as unfortunate and hard. In other words, reality’s gone AWOL.
We all know the sad stats. Any sociologist worth their elbow-patched sweater will tell you that a good dad sets kids up for success, and an absentee one makes life much harder for kids.
Yes, there are deadbeat dads, and God will judge them accordingly, but I want to applaud all the other ones. To the good men out there who make our lives better and bless their children by actions and example, I say, “Thank you!”
This Father’s Day, let’s take a minute to acknowledge good men.
I am thankful for so many things, but specifically for my husband, Will. It is only with his help that I have been able to be both a mom and pursue the work that God has called me to do in the arena of public policy.
In spite of his own challenging career, he has never devalued anything that I was doing, regardless of the size of my paycheck — and even when there was none at all. And, most importantly to me, he is a loving and dedicated dad to our children.
As a dating twenty-something, I didn’t really have on my list of ideal attributes for a mate “great daddy material.” “Funny … Christian … handsome.” Those were on the list, but looking back, I shared a common blind spot with my lady friends.
Thankfully, God was looking out for me on that one. In fact, now that I work in an office with young, single women, I try to mention this oversight on occasion, because giving your children a good father is one of the most important gifts we can give them.
I was reminded of this recently, when my husband returned from a “men’s” weekend away in celebration of our son’s 13th birthday with three of my son’s gangly, even smelly, but cute friends.
My husband patiently spent a long weekend hosting, entertaining, watching out for, and cheering on my son and his friends.
As sweet and wonderful as my son is, budding teens are not the best company in the world. Will’s time was selflessly spent. He came back exhausted but full of praise for four young men who will one day be dads themselves.
His example helps my son and his friends see first hand what being a good man looks like. A good man loves his family, and he works hard to provide for them.
And my husband isn’t alone. As I watch my friends and the husbands of Concerned Women for America’s (CWA) leaders, I essentially see the same story over and over.
These men are faithful and supportive husbands and dads. My friend Cynthia’s husband, John, came to dinner last night with a hoarse voice, because he spent all weekend coaching a tournament for his eight-year-old’s soccer team. They have four kids; the eight-year-old was adopted from Guatemala. John was exhausted, but rallied for church and to take his wife to dinner.
Noble? Absolutely! These men, quietly doing what’s right every day, with thanks often unsaid and enduring the pressures of life, are noble.
And just as noble are the myriad of men — stepdads, grandfathers, and men of the church — who step in the gap for the young men in their lives who have no father figure for one reason or another.
We don’t really talk about any of them very much. It’s the rakes that get all the press. (I should add that the noble men labor along equally noble women who chose their mates wisely. Good job, girls!)
And to all CWA’s beautiful, single members, add “great daddy material” to the list. Choose your spouse wisely. You may not just be choosing for yourself but for several other people, too. Good news: these men still exist!
Penny Young Nance is president and CEO of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest women’s public policy organization. She is the author of the forthcoming book "Feisty and Feminine: A Rallying Cry for Conservative Women" (Zondervan 2016).