Looking through the racks of Father’s Day cards reveals a certain amount of nostalgia- countless references to the hard-working provider that just wants to put his feet up and be left alone for a single day in June. Come home from a long day at the office, pat the kids on the head, eat the big piece of chicken, and not really give too much thought to the spotless house and timely meals.
But this isn’t the world in which I live and work. Male roles are changing in America, allowing for (or demanding that) dads are more hands-on with their families. I was lucky enough to be raised by parents who thought that was a good idea, regardless of the fact that it wasn’t the norm back then. Today moms and dads are held equally responsible for everything from basic childcare to true nurturing, creating more opportunities for dads to play a more obvious and genuine role in their children’s lives.
The best part of my job is talking with families and individuals about what they want from life, and how their money can support it. I hear the stories of how life has gotten to this point, but I’m always most interested in the futures yet to unfold. My clients often tell me things that they don’t tell anyone else, about themselves and their families, as they describe what their ideal life would look like. Naturally, I get to hear many dads talk about their kids and grandkids, the lessons they try to instill, the goals they hope for them to achieve, the way they root for them quietly (or not so quietly) from the sidelines.
As dads continue to embrace more opportunities to be active parents, what we value in dads is likely to change. The outdated vision of a dad has given way to a dad who makes his life choices based upon what he needs to do so his family can succeed. This transition has given dads new ways to raise healthy kids, and it’s a change I see every day as I sit with families to work on a financial plan that allows for such flexibility. It’s obvious when they start a 529 plan so their kids can go to college, when they choose a job that allows them to be more present with their family, and when they use all of their vacation time to go on an unforgettable tour of baseball stadiums, or a journey to see the Northern Lights.
As Father’s Day approaches this year, I’d like to say thank you to dads - for the way you cheer us on, the way you stand at our side, the way you push us to be something more than we knew we could be. And thanks for the universal gift of all dads everywhere - your truly awful jokes.