I’m interrupting my three-part series on Drudgery to comment on Father’s Day. Yesterday, I was struck once again by the imbalance between the way we acknowledge Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in most American churches. I guess this has consistently peeved me because I found in my archives that I blogged about this same topic back in June, 2009.
The last few years, male movements have ignited to challenge men to step by and fulfill their God-given roles. National groups like Promise Keepers and Men’s Fraternity call men to love God, love their wives and children, and express that love by sacrifice and service. Films like “Courageous” demonstrate the impact this kind of transformation can have on individuals, families, and society.
Most pastors in evangelical churches, being male, rightfully take advantage of Father’s Day to proverbially kick men in the butt and challenge them to step up. Many women sit in the sanctuary, silently, perhaps even smugly, agreeing, “Good! It’s about time.”
But these same male pastors, wanting to model for the husbands how to affirm and appreciate their wives, give an entirely different kind of sermon on Mother’s Day. There’s no butt-kicking. No exhortation. Instead, they extol the virtues of motherhood, so sickeningly sweet that women who are not mothers often opt to stay home.
Am I the only one who notices the inequality? Maybe women should preach on Father’s Day and show the fairer sex how to appreciate the men in our lives. As women, we need to stop being so anti-men. It’s a lie that women can do it all. Rather than lump all men together as either deadbeat dads, wife-beaters, or the bumbling idiots portrayed on screen, let’s affirm them for a change.
The men I know work hard to provide for their families and then come home to help out with the housework. These men fix things around the house, mow the lawn, change the oil and rotate the tires, dump the trash, and sometimes help with the cooking. Often they do these tasks without fanfare, listening (or not) to their wife’s rants about being exhausted and overworked.
I realize I’m fortunate that I married a man who takes his role as protector and provider seriously, and then goes above and beyond. When I grew up, it was widely recognized that raising children was a mother’s responsibility and fathers were mostly absent from activities. But today, dads attend soccer games and recitals and help with homework just as much as moms.
Why do so many women today dismiss the role of fatherhood altogether, often thinking fathers are so worthless as to be unnecessary? I understand that some have deep hurts to be addressed, but we can’t condemn every man for the actions of a few.
Where are the voices of women challenging our gender to step up? We need to respect and encourage men; stop belittling and demeaning them. Maybe we need a wake-up call sermon next Mother’s Day.