Catholic Husband

Love / Lead / Serve


A decade ago, at the height of the third-party mobile app ecosystem, I was trying tons of shiny new apps. One was a greeting card generator, that you could design in the app, and which would be printed and mailed to the recipient. It was fine, but I quickly moved on. I hadn’t given that app much thought until three weeks ago. They emailed me, letting me know that Father’s Day was around the corner, and that know that it could be a painful day for many. They wanted to give me the opportunity to opt-out from their Father’s Day marketing emails.

While Mother’s Day is all flowers, breakfast in bed, and late morning brunches, we’ve turned Father’s Day into a dour affair. In a way, it aligns perfectly with our collective attitudes and communication. For years now, the tides against men and fatherhood have risen to tsunami levels, unmooring men from the society expectations that, for millennia, held the basic building block of society, the family, together.

Undoubtedly, many men have abdicated their roles. We’ve lowered the bar so far on our expectations for men that their household responsibilities start and end with a regular income stream. Without the challenge that men instinctually crave, they become soft, lazy, and remote. They drift away, easily succumbing to base temptation.

It may be a convenient story to tell ourselves that fathers aren’t really necessary, but that’s not what the data shows. Single mother households are at an exponential risk of poverty. Children who come from homes without their father present are at a demonstrable disadvantage. Families without a father are like a plant that gets abundant sunshine, but no water; slowly, they wither.

There’s great wisdom in the fact that men share the title “father” with God. To be a father requires great sacrifice and heroic virtue. Sharing life with another person is a beautiful thing, but taking on the responsibility for another is something else. A father blazes a trail for his son to follow; he’s the first love of his daughter. He is not just a number on a bank statement, but an omnipresent force for good in the home.

Fatherlessness is the great scourge of our day, the predictable outcome of decades of anti-men rhetoric and attitudes. Instead of minimizing their importance, or treating them like feckless children, we should celebrate fathers who have laid down their lives in humble service of their families.