Last week I was given a unique opportunity to view an advanced screening of the documentary, “The Evolution of Dad,” and more than once I had to wipe a tear from my eye. It made me think about the kind of dad my dad was and the kind of dad I am to my kids. It made me proud to be an at-home dad and angry that society still doesn’t accept the importance of fathers.
The documentary, written, directed and narrated by award-winning film-maker turned at-home dad Dana H. Glazer, explores the past, present and future role of dads in the American family. Four years ago when Glazer became an at-home dad, he was thrilled to be with his son all day but “at the same time… felt like a failure.” He was empowered to make this film to better understand his own feelings and discover more about what being a father is all about in the 21st century.
The film, set for release on May 18 on DVD, begins with a powerful barrage of photos of dads and the voices of people describing their fathers (tear #1). Glazer then gets right to the main point of the film. He asks people to describe what a father should be and most say he should be nurturing, loving and actively involved with his children. But, when he asks these same people what they think about a father becoming an at-home dad (thus being the most actively involved a father can be) they all say that should NOT be a father’s role.
With this, Glazer makes it clear that society contradicts itself with its image of what a dad should be: nurturing, loving and actively involved while also requiring him to be strong, stoic and a workaholic. Throughout the film, Glazer shows dads who are straightening out this contradiction and thereby evolving into better dads.
Dads such as Dallas Hays, a former Navy officer turned at-home dad and Jeffrey Eilander, a divorced attorney who chose to reduce his work days so he could have shared custody of his children are just a couple of the many examples Glazer found where dads put aside more money and better career advancement so they could be more available to their children. While these dads are still in the minority, Glazer found that more and more dads are making these kinds of choices.
This is a new and inspiring trend that, according to the many experts Glazer interviewed, will lead to happier and healthier children. In the film, Dr. Kyle Pruett, Professor of Child Psychology at Yale University says, “If you want to reduce gang membership, teen pregnancy, dropping out of school, abuse and neglect of children and substance abuse, you can do it by engaging fathers early and often in the lives of their children.” It works “like aspirin on a headache,” he continues, to many of the problems children face.
But society, according to Dr. Michael Kimmel, author of “Manhood in America,” is holding dads back. Our society erodes the value of dads as involved parents because, according to Dr. Kimmel, “Men are still, in this culture, not recognized as equal parents.”
Ralph, a grandfather from the Bronx that Glazer interviews, disagrees with this view society has about fathers. When his granddaughter’s father chose not to be a part of her life, Ralph stepped into that father-figure role (tear #2). He says, “Don’t minimize my role in raising a family. I’m just as important as the mother. You tell me a family unit can exist without the dad – CRAP!”
I share Ralph’s view and I believe dads like he, Jeffrey, and Dallas are reshaping society’s view on fatherhood. They are helping to eliminate the contradiction our society has about American fathers so that many more dads can become what the people in the beginning of the film describe a dad should be.
This documentary opens the door. I hope many will watch it and be emboldened to walk through.
You can receive a special 15% discount of this documentary if you order a copy by May 15. Also, Daddyshome is giving away one FREE copy of the DVD if you become a follower on Twitter and RT “I want Evolution of Dad DVD” by May 15.
Disclosure: I have received no compensation in exchange for this review, however, Daddyshome has traded web ad space with Evolution of Dad.