People make a big fuss about Christmas, and Halloween gets bigger every year. Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day are great for cooking out with family and friends in the summer sun. Thanksgiving is all about treasuring time spent with your loved ones. But, let’s be honest, the biggest, most important holiday of the year really should be Father’s Day.
Of course mothers deserve their day, but there wouldn’t be any mothers without fathers. Father’s Day just doesn’t get the same fanfare as Mother’s Day. The media portrays moms as loving, nurturing and wise. Dads are depicted as bumbling, clueless dolts. But we don’t let it bother us. We just keep our heads down and keep doing our thing. Somebody has to give horsey back rides, push the swing real high and tell groan-inducing jokes.
Fortunately, the government has our backs. Fatherhood.gov is a website for the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse, a resource of the U.S Government’s Office of Family Assistance. The site is designed to offer help, advice and support to fathers in various circumstances. At a time when many people have lost their jobs and may be home with children who have not been in school for months, even the best fathers could use a helping hand.
Maybe you have a pretty good handle on the whole fathering gig but all this togetherness has you looking for new activities to fill your kids’ days. The For Dads link at the top of the site has a Tips and Activities section that has many good resources. It features weekly activities, dad jokes, online games and other topics that will help you engage and entertain your kids. There are lots of videos designed to provide information, inspiration and entertainment for kids and dads. Some of the scenes of dads playing and dancing with their kids are funny and heartwarming.
Some dads may be inexperienced, single dads, coming out of a bad situation or have other issues that impact their ability to father effectively. The site has links to programs and resources that offer help in different areas. You can find information on co-parenting, relationships, education, legal matters, volunteering and more. There are mentoring programs, social media groups and blogs full of advice on different situations fathers will encounter as their kids grow up.
The site is not just for dads. Medical providers and social service workers looking to help patients or clients navigate the trials and tribulations of fatherhood can also find resources here. There are tool kits to help start and build community programs for dads. There are also workshops, webinars, discussions and activities for peer-to-peer and provider to dad situations.
Fatherhood.gov is well-designed and functional as a site to provide resources for dads. It’s not a site where a dad would actually spend time with his kids engaging in activities. It’s organized and easy to navigate with good typography and art. But, being a government site, it is a bit dry. You have to slog through multiple levels and do some in-depth reading to access many of the resources available through the site. But that’s what we dads do. We quietly do the hard work in the background to make our kids’ lives better. Just don’t tell the moms I said that.
Kevin OʼNeill has been a staff artist for The Times-Tribune since June 1993. In addition to doing illustrations and infographics and designing pages for the paper’s print and electronic publications, he writes InSites, a weekly column about websites and apps. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5212