Father’s Day 2020: Piercing the Bubble of Patriarchy

Happy Father’s Day to all fathers, grandfathers, wannabe fathers, future fathers, and fathers other than literal fathers! 

Father holding child on lap. Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash.

Fatherhood is a great grace, a special state of oneing that comes one’s way first in love making and, nine months later, in the birth of a new child. 

How many men awaken to their fuller vocation as human beings when a child enters their life?  And responsibility beckons.

Today the world yearns for healthy fathering and healthy fatherhood.  It recoils at, and is currently marching day after day against, unhealthy fatherhood, toxic and sadistic fathering that teaches power-over instead of power-with.  Fatherhood with no heart, father power falsely understood.  

Is this distorted fatherly energy what is behind racism, authoritarianism, and a capitalism that replaces the joy of living with buying addictions and that renders the rich richer and so powerful that they can buy legislators and judges to make laws that ensure more injustice? 

Gay dads balance their political activism with the needs of their children. Photo posted to Wikimedia by J. Ross Baughman

Fatherly consciousness can degenerate into a mindless and heartless idolatry of power.  Such idolatry prefers sadism to celebration.  It also prevents just structures and laws that serve the common good.  Is power for power sake worthy of the nobility of being human?

Following is a moving reflection on fatherhood from Jeffrey Masson in his book The Evolution of Fatherhood: A Celebration of Animal and Human Families.

When I visit the playground on a weekend and see all the fathers, many looking bored no doubt but still there when they could be someplace else, I am struck by how children come into our lives and simply demand that we give them immediate priority—and we respond.  There are many pleasures more exciting than sitting in a sandbox with a three-year-old digging holes or sitting at the seashore building castles. More exciting, but in some absolute sense, less fulfilling.

Father teaching his daughter to ride a bicycle
Photo by Lgh_9 from Pexels

Fatherhood is about nurturing joy in our children and creating a society that protects them and their joy and prepares them for their honorable adulthood.  There is nothing that feels more remarkably right than being with our children attending to their small pleasures, observing with satisfaction their joy….[Like] emperor penguins,…we too feel a devotion to our young that makes us forego ordinary pleasures to ensure that they survive and thrive. 

I appreciate his underscoring the sacrifice behind healthy fatherhood, that we can forgo ordinary pleasures to serve others.

The opposite of healthy fatherhood?  A patriarchal mindset that has reigned for at least 6500 years when men overthrew goddess cultures to make war; build empires; take slaves; ride horses that terrorized others (now evolved to riding jet fighter planes and bombers with nuclear weapons); rules wall street; and reduces life to a reptilian brain combat that I win and you lose.

Patriarchy, like any bubble, is short-lived—6500 years is a very short time in the history of the planet and even in the history of our 300,000-year-old species. 

A fatherhood that steps out of patriarchy—is that what people are marching for this Father’s Day?

Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors for Awakening the Sacred Masculine, pp. 173f.

Banner Image: Father and daughter walking on beach at sunset. Photo by Derek Thomson on Unsplash.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you see our species marching and protesting to move beyond patriarchy and a false version of fatherhood and masculinity?

What are you contributing to that march and piercing of a bubble?

Recommended Reading

The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine

To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature,  to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God

Join Matthew Fox in this special free video event Saturday June 20 at 11 a.m. PDT (UTC-7)
Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

Share this meditation


Daily Meditations with Matthew Fox is made possible through the generosity of donors. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation

Search Meditations





Receive our daily meditations

1 thought on “Father’s Day 2020: Piercing the Bubble of Patriarchy”

  1. Avatar

    thank you so much matthew for the DM. please keep doing it. did you get the CD’s and 2 letters? i sent them to the matthew fox legacy project address. god bless you!-love and peace. silent no more. speak up. stand up. truth to power-oxox-john

Leave a Comment

To help moderate the volume of responses, the Comment field is limited to 1500 characters (roughly 300 words), with one comment per person per day.

Please keep your comments focused on the topic of the day's Meditation.

As always, we look forward to your comments!!
The Daily Meditation Team

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join us in meditation that supports your compassionate action

Receive Matthew Fox's Daily Meditation by subscribing below: