During the bachelorhood days of any man’s life, the issue of being a father was nearly always nine months away from the time of doing the “sweaty tango.” Fatherhood was a concept that was left to someone else, namely good ol’ daddy, who cared for you in most cases and treated you kindly, like the good son or daughter.
In some cases, fatherhood came to many a young man as a surprise.
In the days of the Pill, the love sleeve and other contraceptives that took the place of ancient and unkind preventative measures, fatherhood became an option that was under control. In China, fatherhood is a privilege and even more pronounced if your child is a male. This is controlled by the government, which stipulates that a family can raise only one child. Imagine the numbers: a quarter billion parents wishing for male children. And the question remains: who gets to be the mother 20 years down the line?
In the concept of fatherhood in the Canadian context, being a father depends on your income. The question arises: am I not the father and head of the household, or am I just a spouse and dependent?
Many a middle-income bracket daddy wrestled with their tax form while whittling away their wages to conform to the tax man’s wishes. Is son number one a tax break, can baby number five count as a deductible? Are diapers considered as business expense or can it just absorb peepee and poopoo? Why is the babysitter tax exempt when I pay her wages?
Of course, the issue of taxes are nonexistent to the majority of Cree families, but they still have to file every year, just like millions of other taxpayers. Thank you for the GST rebates and family allowance, most fathers say. I’ll gladly renounce my income so as to not interfere with those hallowed government handouts to mothers, what else can a good daddy do?
Since Father’s Day is creeping up on the horizon, it would be good to treat fathers with respect and praise them for their renouncement of being the head of the household, in favour of mommy dearest, who can benefit greatly through tax breaks. Being a daddy in these modem days is a far cry from the pre-baby boomer generation. Daddy was the voice and strength came from him in the form of a stem yet firm voice and he got to mete out any punishment that proper discipline dictated. Today, his voice is drowned out by MTV and Nintendo, and punishment takes the form of not allowing access to the remote control.
These days, having a real dad is optional, thanks to in vitro procedures and artificial insemination. Can you imagine the family photo with mom cuddling a test tube? Thanks to modem technology, the sperm bank can be your suppository and the numerous children you have unknowingly fathered may be your business partner in 20 years time. Does he/she have my eyes/ears/nose? Only time will tell.
Other than my disconcerting perspective of the erosion of mankind’s role in today’s world, being a father has many pleasant aspects for nearly all daddies out there in Cree land and elsewhere. Hoping that all fathers and fathers to be be treated well on their day of each year, I wish them all a Happy Father’s Day.