Today, there are 70 million fathers in the USA making Father’s Day a major U.S. holiday. The average American will spend $148.58 this Father’s Day and that total spending nationwide will exceed $17 billion in 2020. However, the real impact of Father’s Day goes beyond greeting cards, neck ties and golf shirts. It’s about celebrating the enduring legacy of fathers and the power they have to shape the lives of their sons and daughters.
Changing role of fathers
The role of the father in American society is constantly evolving. More dads are staying home to care for their kids than ever before. The percentage of fathers who are stay-at-home dads increased from 4% in 1989 to 7% in 2016. That percentage has likely inched up even higher as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left many American dads without jobs.
It’s becoming less common for dads to be the family’s sole breadwinner. In 1970, fathers were the sole worker in nearly half of all American families. As of 2017, that percentage had decreased by nearly half. Couples in dual-income families now comprise the majority of two-parent families with children.
At the same time, dads are significantly more involved in child care than they were in the past. In 2016, fathers reported spending an average of eight hours a week on child care, which is nearly three times the total in 1965, but still significantly less than the 14 hours a week that the average American mother devotes to child care.
An enduring legacy
By any measure, fathers have the ability to serve as important role models for sons and daughters and to make a lasting impact on the lives of their children.
The relationship between father and a child affects healthy development on a variety of levels, from language acquisition and cognition to physical and emotional development. Scientific studies have shown that fathers who care for, nurture and play with their babies raise children with higher IQs and stronger language and cognitive skills.
In the end, being a father offers the opportunity to connect, inspire and have an impact beyond this mortal coil. Being a parent is one of life’s toughest jobs. On this day, we recognize all the fathers who care about their children and inspire them to reach their fullest potential.
Happy Father’s Day to the dads who serve as strong role models who take the time to invest in their kids. Kudos to all the fathers who understand the importance of “paying it forward” and spending quality time with children. Their legacy lives on today and throughout the year in the hearts and minds of everyone who loves them.