Last night at the DNC, Michelle Obama gave a fantastic, inspiring speech. She paid tribute to her own father as well as Barack. Today the blogs and media were all abuzz about it. I read a couple of articles that said the difference between Michelle’s and Ann Romney’s speeches was that Michelle talked about raising children as if it were family work, and not women’s work. Huh.
It seems to me that a father’s contributions to family life are somewhat undervalued. I believe that two parents are better than one. This isn’t a criticism of single parents–divorce is an unfortunate reality. But it’s like people don’t want to acknowledge that having only one parent can be a disadvantage. Notice the use of the word “can”–I don’t presume that every child and every family are the same. Where there is violence, molestation or abuse, there’s no question the child is better off not having that parent around. But it’s hard for people who have never seen a nuclear family, or an equitable relationship modeled to create the same in their own lives.
My dad and I don’t always get along, but I have learned a lot from him and I know that if I need something he will be there for me. I could live life unafraid of being unloved or never meeting someone who would protect and cherish me. And if I hadn’t had that, I might have settled for less than what I deserve. I used to get told a lot that Tex spoiled me rotten, or that I expected too much from my romantic partners. I figure, why not set the bar high and see who can reach it? I am always saddened by women who settle for shiftless men (and vice versa, to be quite honest). If the person in your life doesn’t want to go above and beyond for you, then what’s the point?