Any father that cares for their children would probably find Louise Pennington's recent Huffington Post blog about Father's Day a little, well, eye opening. I'm all for debate and discussion but Pennington's piece makes a number of bold statements that just don't stand up in my opinion.
I can't possibly address them all because there are so many. I'm afraid however, that my blood pressure is so high that I must respond to a few of them.
Firstly, Pennington claims that Father's Day has become a celebration of fathers that are "good enough" as opposed to fathers that are actually good. Well excuse me, but is Mother's Day any different? I certainly don't recall there being any set criteria for celebrating whether a mother meets a certain standard.
I'm sure that many-a-dreadful mother has unwarranted praise heaped upon them for the duration of this annual event. In the spirit of fairness I'm also sure that many poor fathers have unwarranted praise heaped upon them on Father's Day.
This brings me nicely on to my next point. Pennington's piece makes no mention of the huge number of good, involved fathers that exist. I'd like to think that amongst my peers and generation this accounts for the majority of men. Perfect fathers? No, but very involved and trying much harder than previous generations of men.
Interestingly, Pennington highlights the case of Andrew Parsons, a man recently jailed for killing his wife in front of his young son. In summing up the case, the judge happened to remark the culprit was a "good father." This was not the wisest comment to make but Pennington's blog seems to judge all men on; a) Parson's actions and b) the judge's poor summing up of the case. Is this just a little unfair? I would say so.
Let's move on to the advice Pennington has for men that wish to be good fathers. To say it is odd would be an understatement. Here are a few of her ideas:
Domestic violence makes you a bad father,
Abusing your partner in front of your children is child abuse and
Good fathers do not kill the mother of their children.
I am very disappointed to see this kind of opinion being expressed in the twenty first century. I wouldn't question for one second that some fathers need to up their game. Berating the entire male race in such an unforgiving way will do nothing to encourage those fathers that need a little support to come forward and show more interest in their children.
Speaking for myself, I see women, mothers and feminists as colleagues and friends. We can and should all work together to help dads become better parents and raise the profile of fatherhood. Anti-male blog-posts such as the one written by Pennington create a wedge between the genders and do nothing to further the cause for greater equality in parenting.