WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Page 151 of 203

six children after his wife died in childbirth, was a hero in her eyes; out of necessity, he assumed the role of primary caregiver and, together with his only daughter, had nurtured a thriving family. The necessity of establishing a national Father's Day celebration was not immediately apparent to the American public, however, despite support from William Jennings Bryan and Presidents Wilson, Coolidge, and Johnson, a reflection, perhaps, of the idealized view of American families at the time. For much of the twentieth century, the prevailing cultural ideal for fathers was one of limited involvement; men were expected to be financial providers for their families and gen- der-role models for their sons and daughters, which precluded them from doing much of what was considered mothers' work. Mothers, on the other hand, were expected to focus on childrearing, bearing pri- mary responsibility for the spiritual, emotional, physical, and social wellbeing of their children. This ideal did not represent all American families, nor was it a reflection of family life in America prior to the Industrial Revolution. However, these gender-defined roles did reflect the prevailing eco- nomic reality for many American families — fathers working long hours away from home — and dominant psychological theories of the time, which were based upon research focusing exclusively on the importance of mothers to children's development. In 1972 President Nixon established a permanent Father's Day obser- vance. The celebration had grown in popularity among Americans dur- ing the almost 50 years that had passed since Dodd began her lobbying effort, and an alarming social trend had prompted reconsideration of the role of fathers within the family: rising divorce rates. Researchers comparing families where fathers were physically present with those of single-parent families revealed that a father's presence often prevented multiple social ills. Fathers were worthy of a national holiday after all. 150 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s u m m e r 2 0 1 4 M E D I A B A K E R Y family matters "positive interactions with their children" 148-153_WWMb14_family mttrs_dad_v2_WellesleyWeston Magazine 4/25/14 11:06 AM Page 150

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