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Happy Father’s Day, gents! That is, assuming you are a father.

Being a father today is a much different beast than 50 years ago. I know this anecdotally from my vast experience of being fathered by my father, as well as from watching my husband being a father. I also have the facts to back up my claim. Thank you U.S. Census Bureau statistics.

Let’s take a look at some numbers from California, shall we?

In 1960, 61% of dads were veterans. In 2014, only 6% of dads were veterans. I’ll add here that my dad served in the Navy for 20 years.

Single dads ran 0.8% of the families (with no mother present) in 1960. That is a tiny percentage as compared 7% in 2014. Is it just me or does 7% seem low?

Higher education was less likely in 1960 where a mere 15% of dads held a bachelor’s degree. In 2014, 34% of dads have college degrees.

This statistic really speaks of how times have changed. Think Rob and Laura Petri. In 1960, 70% of dad’s were the family’s sole breadwinner, while in 2014, that percentage had dropped to 31%.

To sum it up, fewer of today’s dads in California have witnessed the horrors of war, more are taking on childrearing solo, they are better educated, and the burden of financially supporting the family is shared to a much greater extent.

And, they help around the house much more. Thank the lord for that one! Dads spend 6 hours more per week doing housework (my husband says that number is way too low) and 4.5 hours more per week on childcare.

I don’t remember my father EVER wielding a dust rag or watching us kids because mom was out. He never helped make dinner and would sit at the table while mom (or us kids) did the dishes. For that matter, he never did a load of laundry, made a grocery store run, packed a school lunch, volunteered in a classroom, or helped with homework. To be fair, he did coach my brothers’ Little League team and took us camping.

Dad was a kind man and by the standards of the 1960s, he was a fine upstanding father. By today’s benchmarks, he would get an F-. Or maybe expelled from fatherdom.

I think this it is an excellent turn of events . . . this whole fathers-playing-a-more-active-role-in-the-family-unit thing. Everyone benefits, but especially the dads. They get to experience the joys of being a part of a family instead of producing children and then going off to work. It makes me sad to think of the fun my dad missed out on with us kids.

And, this is my first Father’s Day without my dad. That is sad too.

Anyhoo, hats off to you daddy-o-s out there. Being a father is a noble profession and you are filling the bill brilliantly. Well done you.

And Happy Father’s Day to my husband who has done all the things (and more) that my dad didn’t do. He is a man who has embraced fatherhood to the fullest. And he is blessed with three daughters who adore him. I do too.

Two dads

Note the goofy dad photo bombing his girls. Also note my dad in the uniform to the left.