I really enjoy the saying “Dads don’t babysit”. I mean, I wasn’t too thrilled when my wife stopped paying me to watch the kids after hearing it but, nonetheless, it is great to see dads using their voice for more than just yelling, “listen to your mother” over the television. Being an active, involved dad is “trending” if you will. The millennial generation (which I didn’t vote to be called and would like to have changed) have taken to and embraced social media as an outlet to express their love and devotion to the family unit.
We aren’t the Millennial Generation. We are Generation Dad, putting all our computer skills and social media platforms to good use.
That isn’t to say that our predecessors weren’t active awesome dads. They did their parts without the glitz of Instagram filters or luxury of blogging. Even in this technology driven world we see older dads able to show publicly through the internet just how awesome they think being a dad is. And I know, before I go forward, that they see me (24) as a millennial know-it-all snob, to which I say, “Calm down, Gramps. #chillout.”
Growing up on Myspace and Xanga (I can’t be the only one.) made sharing the story of the journey second nature. Young, dumb, and not properly educated on the dangers of online predators, we (well, me) grew up online. So it is only right that the journey of fatherhood be so well documented with pictures, statuses and glorious hashtags. (#Dadlife!)
I don’t think that the previous generation was a generation of bad fathers. Quite the contrary, they raised Generation Dad (most, not mine. I am what you call an outlier). I think their private thoughts and feelings weren’t so publicly accessible. They didn’t go around writing their feelings and sharing them with strangers, probably because dial-up was really slow, from what I remember.
We live in a golden age of technology, one that has its cons just as much as it has its pros. The cons are well documented. Go to any major media outlet’s Facebook page and check out the comment section. Trolls roam freely, spewing impersonal insensitive remarks. Keyboard Warriors sling crap from continents away without any hint of empathy. It can be ugly, it can be racist, it can be disconnected. (Which is funny, we are constantly plugged into everything but each other.)
While the Almighty Internet has its pitfalls, it is where the renaissance of fatherhood is occurring. We post updates on our children’s bowel movements just as fervently as we used to post party pictures in our pre-dad days. That glimpse into our privacy has sculpted the perception of Generation Dad. We are strong, sensitive and caring. We are there. The moments of cuddling on the couch or reading a book or playing catch! All captured and cropped into the world. You can see a still, forever capturing the glint of pride in a dad’s eyes as they do what they love best. Be with their child.
I think that because these moments are no longer in a dusty photo album in the attic it is why this shift is occurring. The photos are now public domain. There are thousands, if not millions, (insert Dr. Evil “I want ONE MILLION father photos!) of dads posting on social media about how much fun they had with their kid. Posting pictures of their little pride and joy.
It isn’t unnoticed. Some of the most popular pages are “Dad pages”. Why? Because it is a side that wasn’t seen before. Generation Dad has pulled the curtain on intimacy between father and child and the verdict is out. We are loved, celebrated and becoming the norm.
As if being a good dad wasn’t already the norm. Dads don’t babysit, we were just trying to score a little side scratch for extra activities with the kid. Dads have always been parenting.
We just let the world in to #dadlife. Us. The
Millennial Generation. Generation Dad. (You’re welcome, Gramps)