"Are you finding that being a dad nowadays is pretty rough? Are you working extra hours to pay for your children's future college expenses and then fretting that you're not spending enough time with those kids you care so much about? …
"As far as I'm concerned, it's a tough time to be a father: High housing costs. Low-paying jobs. Too much time on the freeway commuting. Way too much stress. The list goes on toward infinite."
I wrote the words above 10 years ago when I began this blog. (Note: I would have posted this on the anniversary of April 16th, but Typepad was knocked offline for a week by a Denial of Service attack.) During the interim years, I started thinking, "Ah, things are getting better for parents."
Then the Great Recession, followed by years of unemployment and the dismantlement of the middle class, happened. And we can't forget the increasing threats of global warming, out-of-control college costs and nonstop cuts to public education.
In some ways, the world IS a better place. Say what you will, but Obamacare has increased overall health care coverage, gays have more rights than before and we have better tech toys than ever. It's those other issues that just keep getting worse. Examples:
- The rich in this country have been continually disenfranchising the middle and lower classes.
- Public school funding continues to be cut while Common Core or any sort of true reform is continually under attack rather than constructive support.
- Our politics are ruled by hate, not positive leadership.
- Food costs keep rising.
- Food companies keep finding new ways to lessen the quality of that more expensive food.
- Fracking will continue to contaminate fresh water supplies.
- Global warming poses an actual threat to our children or grandchildren.
- Freedom of press continues to be eroded on numerous fronts, such as the destruction of newspaper companies and legal restrictions on the First Amendment.
- College costs continue to skyrocket.
Perhaps the most telling evidence comes directly from my children, who blurt clues out when I'm driving them to and from various activities. "Dad, why are other kids so mean?" "Dad, why is fracking allowed?" "Dad, what are chemical weapons?" "Dad, why are rich people so mean to everyone else?"
Those are the kind of questions that leave this dad speechless. Should I say, "We need to be careful to not become like that?" Or maybe, "Yeah, you're right?" Or how about, "Those are just the extremes?" Are they the extremes?
What do I say? To be honest, I do not know.