Writing about Fathers

For many years, fathers were represented as those elusive, wise creatures who left the home in the morning, did battle in the world of commerce during the day, and came home to share dinner with the family. Possibly they might fall asleep in their chair after dinner, but were a household presence.

A threat on the part of the exasperated mother, “Wait until your father gets home!” left children quaking in their boots or Keds sneakers, as the case may be.

Like a knight on a white charger, dad met the household’s needs to provide the muscle and the financial support.

Fast-forward several decades. We are no longer a Father Knows Best kind of household. Since mom and dad often go to work or, sometimes there is only one parent, roles are greatly changed.

Writing about a father now can be a totally different experience. While the ad campaigns still tout toolboxes, fishing gear, and gadgets for the home, many men and fathers no longer focus on those pastimes.   My husband recently commented that it seemed there are a proliferation of male chefs.

Men provide the nourishment – in both food and emotional support – as well as women.

So when you think of a father, offer your thank you to your father or the male person who nurtured, offered guidance, listened to your stories, picked you up when you fell off your bicycle with bloodied knees, and was there to cheer you on.

When you write about a father, be sure to show them as a fully-fledged person, not the cardboard, two-dimensional male from days of yore. Fathers have feelings, opinions, preferences and attitudes. Include those details when you present that character in your writing.

Happy Father’s Day!

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