Monday, October 16, 2006

Checking out the Dads

Crossposted from Everyday Mom.

Last night a friend sent me her proposal for a new book on dads and parenting. Like a good friend and writing comrade, I read quickly and sent her emailed chapter headings back with some thoughts and suggestions. After, I resolved to check in with my favorite dad blogs in the morning.

Here's what's up with the dads, aka in my world as the good dads, the blogger dads I like the best.

Jeremy at Daddy Dialectic has gone back to work, a move that's poignant and exciting at the same time. He writes so well and so honestly about the love of staying home with his son, about the economics of his family life, and about the politics of our nation at large. Whoever doesn't already think the public and the domestic are linked needs to spend some time on Daddy Dialectic (which has become a group blog, all to the better). As always, Jeremy finds the most trenchant links on politics, too. Thanks, Jeremy, for all the writing you do, for your decision to go public ala blog, and please, please keep writing to us.

Rebel Dad has promised to post everyday this week. He too has returned to paid work, and I empathize, it can be awfully hard to blog everyday when life is so full. The current post (sorry, no working trackback yet), is about how at home dad groups tend to be ephemeral: dads meet when they have tots and preschoolers, are tight, post a webpage, and time moves on, the kids start elementary school, PTA takes over, or they return to paid work. Life moves on. His iso wonderfully describes how fluid our lives are, and I always enjoy seeing the life I live narrated on screen.

Let's see. Another favorite dad blogger has been away for several weeks, but back in September published the most marvelous, must-read post, with the title "Raising Kids and Social Change" a post so honest, so right-on and so inspiring I resolved to link to it from everywhere I blog. An excerpt:

"The direct way [to bring about social change] involves a number of discrete elements. The first is that by spending time with our kids we show them through our actions that we are commited to them, that they are important to us. This gives them the confidence and psychological health to act on their principles in the face of a society that is hostile to those principles and values.

If we let our kids be raised by societal norms, we are doing the opposite of progressive, positive activism. Raising progressive kids requires being very proactive, being very involved in our kids' lives, talking to them from the earliest days about the values that we believe are important, about the changes that need to happen in our society, and living those values.

For me, the foundation or prerequisite to doing that was to be an involved father. First and maybe most directly, in the area of gender relations: if we want to bring about change in that area, we have to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk.

As a guy, I can thinking of nothing more subversive of "traditional" conservative values than the fact that I chose to stay home full-time with my daughter for the first two years of her life; that I chose to downsize career ambitions to spend time with my kids and to be more involved in their lives than I could have if I had followed my earlier ambitions. I understand that in many ways my ability to do this is related to my class privilege and educational background. Nevertheless, I think that exactly because of those factors, and the resultant fact that I had many other options, it is important for me to take steps to undermine gender hierarchies in the eyes of my kids as well as in my wider community....

Thanks for the inspiration. The definitions of politics these days have reverted back to that which is big, media-saturated, and backed by huge money. We forget that other things matter, that individual decisions about life still matter, and that gender roles--especially the very intimate ones of family life--need challenging every day, and every way.


Chip said...

thanks for the nice words and the links, Miriam! You know, it just amazes me that this isn't just common sense to most people!

Jeremy Adam Smith said...

Yeah, thanks for the shout-out, Miriam! We appreciate it, and all the work you do.