Fathers have it hard these days. With mothers doing equal amounts of bread-winning, and most of the suckling and nurturing, what is there for Dads to do?
In my Dad's day, the roles were very clear. My mom stayed in the home and took care of the house, cooking and cleaning, and made sure that the children were well-fed, well-dressed and well-mannered. My father interacted with the world, ensured his family had a place in it that was secure literally and financially. But the women's movement has changed the world, the home and what we expect of fathers.
In fact, we don't quite know what to expect of fathers these days. There is still the sense that Dad is the one with authority - God the father syndrome; - that he makes us secure financially and physically; and that he gives the children the sense of self - older traditions of surnames, inheritance and so on. With many mothers now assuming full responsibility for the offspring, does this mean we can dispense with dear old Dad after he has donated his sperm? Surely as long as we continue to create new humans from combinations of two gene pools, there is more that should be expected from the one with the Y chromosome.
The latest science may give us some direction. Comparisons of the Y chromosomes in species with DNA nearest to humans (chimpanzees) indicate that human Ys are evolving faster than any other. This does not necessarily mean that men themselves are evolving, but instead suggests that they possess in that Y chromosome the genetic make up for greatest evolutionary adaptability. Studies are still in the earliest of stages, but there's enough food for thought. If at the genetic level, the Y is the powerhouse for change and adaptation, resilience and evolution itself, perhaps at the macro level, we are being shown what fathers are for.
Mothers model care and reliability, nurture and stability. Is it that fathers are coded for the evolutionary process itself - to show the results and rewards of risk taking, of unpredictable, adventurous, even aberrant, behaviour?