My husband and I started introducing some '80s and early '90s movies to my kids -- "Back to the Future," "Big," "A League of Their Own" -- figuring they'd get a kick out of seeing what entertained us back then.
(What entertained me, anyway; my husband is, by profession and nature, a tougher critic of that era than I am.)
They liked them OK, but there was far more cringing than I expected -- on my part and theirs.
In my memories, the movies are tender and funny.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Sun Herald
Upon recent watching, the characters are sort of awful to each other. Marty McFly's mom almost gets date-raped in "Back to the Future."
Josh's co-workers are stuck in an obnoxious, antagonistic relationship in "Big."
And Tom Hanks' Jimmy Dugan, whom I remember adoring in "A League of Their Own," appalled my kids.
"Everyone is so mean to each other," my daughter announced at one point.
I've been trying to put my finger on what misfires in the movies, and why it went completely over my head when I watched them the first time around.
Sure, the country has changed and progressed a bit. And, yes, my tastes have, too. But something else -- something far bigger -- has changed as well.
I think it's dads.
The way we used to portray men and women relating to one another feels so, well, unrelatable to my kids.
(And to me now, thank goodness.)
That the men were either angry blowhards or victims of angry blowhards and that we laughed it off as reality with a touch of Hollywood embellishment doesn't quite fly with kids who've grown up with far better examples.
At my kids' elementary school, I have never chaperoned a field trip without dads in the mix. My daughter has had room dads as well as room moms.
At drop-off and pickup, there are dads giving kisses, dads chatting at the playground, dads checking to see if lunches made it into backpacks, dads chasing after their children with forgotten permission slips.
My son's end-of-the-year picnic was this week, and his teacher asked for parent volunteers to walk kids to and from the park and keep an eye on them once they arrived.
One dad spent two hours playing football and soccer with a rotating cast of boys and girls.
Another dad handed out water, spread blankets around and gently ushered us across busy streets.
This is my children's reality.
Dads -- and therefore men -- are fun and helpful and present.
And moms enjoy being around them.
It's a good set-up.
Statistics show a clear shift toward more hands-on fathering, as my colleague Nara Schoenberg's recent story beautifully illustrates.
The number of stay-at-home dads increased by more than 60 percent from 2003 to 2012, according to the U.S. census.
And dads have almost tripled their time spent on child care and housework since 1965.
Dads host play dates. Dads make snacks.
Dads pile groups of kids in the car and take them for ice cream.
It's all a far cry from another '80s fixture: "Mr. Mom."
My kids and their peers are growing up with the daily knowledge that nurturing and shaping children is the joy and work of both genders.
Even if the dynamics in their own homes are, for any number of reasons, more closely aligned with traditional roles, they see a dozen different examples each day.
No wonder the '80s made them wince.
None of this is meant to imply that dads (or moms, for that matter) who can't make it to field trips are somehow failing their children.
Some jobs are more flexible than others, obviously.
Other family obligations -- young siblings at home, aging parents who need care -- often beckon.
That's part of the beauty of watching your children go out into the world and be shaped by it.
You do the heavy lifting, but the moments you're not there define your children as well.
I feel eternally grateful that mine are growing up around the devotion and love of so many dads, which I'm confident will guide them to seek out and emulate the same dynamic when they're older.
Good riddance to the old ways. And happy Father's Day.
Contact Heidi Stevens, columnist for the Chicago Tribune, at firstname.lastname@example.org