Photo essay: What does fatherhood mean to you?
06/11/2014 08:55:07 AM EDT
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FILE - In this May 18, 2014 photo, Abe Safdie, 40, poses for a photo as he holds his 5 ½-month-old twins Ellen, left, and Ezra, before joining a twins? club gathering in New York. ?Once they came out, it was an incredibly emotional experience,? he said. ?Then the responsibility set in. It was like life during wartime. I would come home from a full day of work and both of them would be screaming their lungs out. But then around three months it changed. They started to smile. And once they started to smile, I felt like I had a real connection.? (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
NEW YORK (AP) — Fatherhood in America has changed over the past few decades. Dads today are more involved in every aspect of child care, from diaper-changing to helping with homework. Nobody questions paternity leave — even Major League Baseball players take it — and stay-at-home fathers are no longer unusual. And while there are more single moms than ever, kids raised by two parents have a big advantage over kids from single-parent homes: They are less likely to be poor.
Despite the changes, when you ask today's dads what fatherhood means to them, they cite some pretty old-school, universal themes. A team from The Associated Press recently photographed 10 sets of fathers with their children, and when they were asked about being dads, they mentioned responsibility, hard work, joy and pride.
FILE - In this May 18, 2014 photo, Jim Leonard, 61, of Canton, N.Y., rides the subway with his daughter Riley, 12, after visiting his older daughter and her newborn in New York. ?My children are my greatest achievement,? he said. ?To see how they have grown, matured and become good, decent and loving people absolutely warms my heart ?The older you get, the more you appreciate it. When you?re younger, you?re so busy with everything, you don?t have time to appreciate it.? (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)
What does fatherhood mean to you?
FILE - In this May 18, 2014 photo, Orlando Lopez, 34, of the Bronx borough of New York, poses for a photograph with his daughters, Sophia, 3, and Roselyann, 5, after a walkathon in New York's Central Park. When asked for his thoughts on fatherhood, Lopez, who has the girls? names tattooed on his arms, said, ?It?s fun. I love it. You?re with them every day. It?s happiness. I?ve been following the same steps as my father. He was always around. I?m always around them.? (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)
FILE - In this May 18, 2014 photo, Jamez James, 47, of the Brooklyn borough of New York, holds his son, Melchi?Tzdec, during an outing in New York's Central Park. Before becoming a father, James said, ?I was a single guy, living the life, well, so I thought.? James describes fatherhood as opening a door, and ?little did I know, as I chose to go through, my entire life changed... That?s where I met my son, on the other side of the door.? (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)
FILE - In this May 18, 2014 photo, Troy Johnson, 30, of Philadelphia, holds his daughter, Isabella, 4, after visiting the American Museum of Natural History with his son Wayne, 7 in New York. ?It?s about putting them before yourself,? said Johnson. ?We don?t really do anything outside of our family element. I worked all night, I work in a hospital, but they?ve never been to New York, so we just got up and came in.? (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)
FILE - In this May 18, 2014 photo, Mario Perez, 30, poses for a photo with his children Michael, 6, and Emily, 7, at a park in the Brooklyn borough of New York. At the park costumed dancers celebrated a festival from their home state of Tlaxcala, Mexico. Being a good dad, Perez said, ?is very important. This is the way, with the family together, happy. We try to keep the tradition around here.? (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)