From Jan. 12-15, Billings Studio Theatre staged the children’s performances of “Honk Jr.” The cast of this play is exciting and engaged. Wendy Carlin directed well. As a friend put it, “It is an overdose of cuteness.” It was definitely worth attending.

My only criticism is the lack of positive fathers by the writer, Anthony Drewe. I find this disconcerting because it is a children’s play. The only father, the mallard, is described as “spending time at the watering hole.” When the mother goes off to search, the father complains about feeding the remaining kids, the water bill and chores. He whines, “What’s the joy of motherhood?”

This flagrant dismissal of the father’s value in parenthood is sexist. A positive father role model knows when to show authority, when to show compassion, and cares for his children. A positive father role model should value time spent with his children, teaching them how to handle the mundane necessities of self-reliant adulthood, not whine that he’s acting like a mother.

If we want to help stop the societal disintegration of the first and most important bond in a child’s life, we need to educate our children of what positive fathers look like, not pretend positive ones don’t exist and glorify bad ones. I’ve seen positive ones, every night I picked my daughter up from practice or the performances, in the other fathers/families supporting their children in their interests.

— Brian Kenat, Billings

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