Monday, 18 June 2012

Have Men Lost Their Voice?

Yesterday was Trinity 2. It was also Father's Day, a day that many will claim is a commercial invention to sell cards and poor CD compilations of 'driving hits'. 

I have made an observation this year. When it was Mothering Sunday I heard much about its value and how such a day allows us to celebrate the motherhood of the Church etc. The social meejyah was replete with images and sloganeering for and by mothers in support of themselves and the wonderful work of motherhood that they rightly embody. 

The thing is, the only reference I saw for Father's Day wasn't from a blokey geezer dad-type person. No. Not a single bloke uttered a mere morsel of self-congratulation about their paternity and all the blessings and joys that proceeds from it. No.

All I saw on Father's Day was written for and by mothers who are themselves single mothers and therefore the mum and dad of the piece. 

Now, this isn't a post making a complaint about women and their apparent desire to self-congratulate on the internet. There are far worse things to do with one's time. Perhaps Father's Day is a relic of a former age? Well, the restaurant I was sat in was filled to capacity so I sensed that that argument didn't work. 

The thing for which I chastise myself this day is when, during church notices yesterday - having asked if there was anything else to mention - was confronted simply by a sole male voice who uttered "Father's Day". I felt somehow naughty for mentioning it in church for fear of chiding the Mum's Onion (who don't like me at the moment - again). Speaking as one of the brotherhood of males called to parenthood, I ask simply whether we men have lost our voices? Are we afraid of offending?

It certainly seems so!


  1. My observation this year, as I've been on Twitter for the first time over a Father's Day, was how mixed the Father experience is for a great deal of people. Celebrate fathers, yes, but what if half the kids in church are without theirs due to divorce? And then there's absent and abusive experiences. And the Mother Church etc is enshrined in C of E tradition; Father's day is seen as commercialism by churchgoers. Which makes for a very tricky thing all round.

  2. Agree with all that you say. I can't help wondering if more men saying "I have a normal father-child relationship going on and its great" might just convince the wider world that a normal father-child relationship is the norm rather than the exception.

  3. Hmmm! I doubt anyone could ever accuse you of being "afraid of offending".
    As one who finds Mothering Sunday a bore and an embarrassment and Fathers' Day even more so, can we not just accept that if you (that is parents at large) find parenthood such a source of joy, that is then its own reward.
    You don't need a day to celebrate it.
    Yes, I have been at the lemon juice again!

  4. I don't think that men have lost their voices, it's just muted, particularly in the Christian context, where the motherhood of the BVM is celebrated. Whereas, the fatherhood of Joseph (albeit as Step-Father) hood is generally ignored. Joseph overcame his reservations about the untimely pregnancy of Mary to go onto be a father to Jesus (and if you read the New Testament Jesus's brothers and sisters as well).

    I would love to see Joseph celebrated as someone who overcame those difficulties and provided the rock and stability in Jesus' life as his human father.

    The other aspect of fatherhood is the lack of celebration of Grand Parents, many of who are the source of continuing stability in the lives of their grand children and even a financial, emotional and child care back stop for their children when in trouble or need.

    In our family service yesterday, all fathers were presented with a small card celebrating their fatherhood, but not really compared in the same way as motherhood is equated to the BVM. Time for this to be brought out a little more perhaps.

  5. Father's Day = Hallmark invention.

  6. Your local Mum's Onion should have no business chiding you for mentioning Father's Day as the national body of Mum's Onion inc, have been busy promoting it and even provided some resources to help all Dad's be just as well celebrated as their female counterparts.

    I believe you have in the past celebrated the dual role of single parents, so I look forward to hearing how next year you make the most of the opportunity to celebrate 'What Dad's Add' (to use the title of a small prayer card available from the Mum's Onion brigade !)

  7. Father's day is HUGE over here & for the first time in my 46 years on this planet I got to spend it with mine. This is not because he has been absent all of my life but because I didn't even know of such a day until I was in my very late teens (some parts of Yorkshire are very rural)& by then he was over here in Canada.

    I am happy to celebrate it and happy for my girls to celebrate it. It wasn't mushy for me & my dad but as gruff Yorkshire folk it gave us an excuse to show emotion we do not normally. My young girls have so such reserves!

    Men should not be afraid to speak up, as parent they have as much right to have a day that is their for their children to say 'Dad I love you & thanks'. I am not sure it is just men that are afraid, we live in a strange PC world where offending people is a big worry. Should we stop celebrating everything in fear of offending someone. Many people are without their mum's and have a tough time on mother's day. I shudder as a Christian when I see 'Happy Holiday's' at Christmas time (only 189 days to go!)

    It is fine to celebrate anything, as with all things it is your right. However we do not have the right to force everyone to join in but people should be content to let others celebrate the things in their own lives (in my humble opinion).

    Happy Father's day Father David ;-) hope you had a good one

  8. The "Mothers' Day" element of Mothering Sunday is a sop to women (one day for you, three hundred and sixty four days for us). Until such time that they tell us to "Stuff Mothers' Day," women will continue to regard themselves, even if only subconsciously, as inferior to men.

  9. My father has been gone since 1964, when I was but 16 years old. I think of him often, but it's on Father's Day that I often pull out some old photos & dusty memories, followed by a giving of thanks for the man that was of noble character.

    Please, men, don't lose you voices. If ever a world needed strong, godly daddy's, it is this one.

  10. To me, Mothering Sunday seems enough of a minefield in our churches me without having to negotiate it all again on Father's Day which is not even part of the liturgical calendar in the way that the former is. On such occasions we must acknowledge that, since we live with human imperfection and sinfulness, not everyone has experienced parenthood and family life positively. We cannot afford to take an idealised or sentimentalised view.

    As a parent, of course, our private celebrations do happen within the family, and Father's Day has assumed a bigger place since our elder son married a Canadian where the day is HUGE. But celebrating such within a church community can be problematic in so many ways.



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