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Katherine Lewis

Three Cheers for Dads!

By December 18, 2012

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gender roles

Yesterday afternoon, I walked with my husband to pick up our girls at the elementary school. On Mondays he usually picks up solo, since it's his work-from-home day. But after the Newtown, Ct., shooting, I wanted to see my kids' faces as soon as they got out of the school building. I didn't know what horrors they might have heard from classmates and wanted to hug them immediately after dismissal.

As we were walking to the school, we ran into a neighbor dad, going to pick up his kindergartener. Then another mom and dad who wanted to pick up their kids together, and another dad coming solo. Suddenly it struck me: the majority of parents in our little huddle walking towards the school were fathers.

It's no secret that dads are far more involved in our generation of parents, compared with the past. Not only has our society's view of proper gender roles changed dramatically, but as more working moms pursue demanding careers, our partners are stepping up at home. But I know that things are far from equal among the genders, not only because of the persistent pay gap between men and women, but also because of time use data that shows mothers still spend more time on child and household care than fathers do. (Not to mention the grumbles from friends whose husbands aren't as equal partners in the family as mine is.)

Still, it warmed my heart to see this crowd of manly dads heading up to the school to greet their children, especially on such an emotional day for me. The ones I walked with included a professional musician, a business owner, a nonprofit executive and a government physician. Hardly a group of career slackers. These men have arranged flexible schedules so they can be more present for their children and involved in their day-to-day lives, while also supporting their families financially. It made me so proud of my community. Certainly this is a step in the right direction for our society and a hugely important positive development for our children. On a week when we're hoping for more safety for kids, that is most welcome. (By the way, my kids heard nothing scary at school, thankfully.)

How does this scene compare to your community? Are you seeing more hands on dads?

Photo credit: Getty Images

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