There’s a good chance if you receive – or give – a Father’s Day card this weekend, Dad will be portrayed as a farting, beer-obsessed, tool-challenged buffoon who would rather hog the TV remote, go fishing or play golf than be with the kids.
Such cards are top sellers among the 87 million Father’s Day cards that will be given this year. But just who are these dads, and what decade are they from?
The cards are “about grilling – there are a bunch of those – or handyman stuff,” Peter Walker, 26, said as he shopped in the greeting card aisle at a Rockville CVS this week.
The dad-as-buffoon cards seemed “corny and stereotypical,” too, he said. “I don’t think my dad’s a buffoon. Quite the opposite.”
The greeting card image of Dad as lazy, incompetent boob is increasingly out of sync with today’s fathers, many of whom spend as much time packing lunches and helping with homework as their own fathers spent in the Barcalounger.
But stereotypes sell, greeting card companies say. The Father’s Day bestseller for NobleWorks Cards, a New Jersey-based publisher, says, “Keep Calm We Found the Remote.” The next bestseller shows kids surrounding Dad as he opens a card misspelled as “Happy Farter’s Day.” The third-biggest seller shows “The Evolution of Dad” from ape to caveman to a guy hunkered down in front of the TV.
An informal Washington Post survey of local drugstores found dozens of cards based on images of beer, golf, a fishing pole, a TV, a recliner, caveman, hapless handyman or a fart joke.
Paul Raeburn, author of the new book “Do Fathers Matter? What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We’ve Overlooked,” said he’s found bungling dad cartoons dating to the 1920s, long before Homer Simpson began belting out his forehead-slapping “Doh!”
Traditionally dad has the role of protector, provider and head of the household—and rightly so. This Father’s Day, I would like fathers to consider protecting your family in a non-traditional way—commit to a smoke-free home and lifestyle.
Childhood exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) is a serious threat to public health and is often influenced by parents. We all know the perils of smoking, but for those dads who use tobacco products, quitting is not only good for your health, it sends a message to your children—you care enough about them not to expose them to second hand smoke.
The reality is our children do what they see, not what we say, so as the head of the household, show them that smoking is not good for them. Discourage your children from smoking, by setting an example. And, show them that even though quitting is difficult, you care enough about them, their health and their well-being to stop using tobacco products.
Studies show that children face a higher risk than adults of the negative effects of secondhand smoke. Not only is a child’s body still developing physically, but their breathing rate is faster than that of adults. Adults breathe in and out approximately 14 to 18 times a minute, where newborns can breathe as many as 60 times a minute. Up until a child is about five years old, the respiratory rate is quite fast; usually between 20 and 60 breaths per minute.
We all know the dangers of smoking and using tobacco products. But, this Father’s Day, one father to another, I encourage you to set the example—do it for yourself and your family. This Father’s Day, give your children the gift of love and a better life. Quit smoking!
Eric Allen 6030 W. Florist Avenue Milwaukee, WI 53218 414-640-2794 [email protected]