Article in the Port Colborne newspaper “The Welland Tribune” — Spring of 2012

There’s a certain guidance only a father can give a son:

For Jacob, who grew up without a father, having an authority figure in his life just wasn’t an option. As a child, Jacob’s father had left the family, leaving his mother to raise him. So when it came to finding someone to look up to, the only option around was his neighbour, Jim, who filled the paternal role, reluctantly, in order to teach Jacob what living in the world as a man was about. The young man desparately needed to have someone help him transition from boyhood into manhood.

That is the concept of A Man’s Work Is Never Done: A Novel About Mentoring Our Sons, a soon to be published creative non-fiction work by Port Colborne author Jim Cloughley.

The story and the context isn’t about bashing women and certainly not single moms but about recognizing that it is difficult for a woman to sometimes understand what a young man needs to grow into manhood said Cloughley, who spent 20 years in the field of social work as an addiction counsellor. “I’ve seen lots of kids out there who come from similar scenarios but different circumstances. Not all kids are alike and not all young men need to be treated the same way. One size does not fit all. I also recognized that only a father, or a strong and trusted male role model, can usher a son into the world as a man.”
That conclusion is based on Cloughley’s experiences as a counsellor after talking to many young men who he says tell the same story. Using his real life experiences and observations, Cloughley was able to translate them into the tale.
“I was a single parent for many years to a son and daughter,” Cloughley said. “I have never understood what it feels like to be a female in the world, so there were aspects of my daughters early life that I could not help her with. We were both quite fortunate to have strong well adjusted and patient women around to help her with those things that I couldn’t.

The world really does offer a different living experience for women than for men. Having been able to raise my son with this understanding and to help him accept what he was experiencing as a young man was invaluable. I’m very proud of my kids. They are great citizens in the world”.
It took Cloughley 14 months to write the manuscript for “A Man’s Work Is Never Done.” He said the book centres around four cornerstones that readers can relate to: the importance of having a positive self image, understanding anger and using it as a positive tool to manage life situations, developing healthy relationships and knowing what skillful parents have learned to help their children through the tough and challenging times they are destined to face. Cloughley himself is a character in the book. The other three characters are based on composites of real people in his life.

The author said in the last two generations, perhaps three, he’s witnessed a decreasing number of fatherly guides. Cloughley said if boys aren’t brought up by their fathers or a strong and dedicated male role model, they learn about life through their facets such as the Internet, friends or gangs. He also agrees that men are confused about the roles they play or are expected to play in todays’ world. But he also agrees that men are just as responsible and capable of building the foundations of a family as women. Cloughley said he hoped his book would inspire men to be good fathers and encourage men to remain connected to their sons regardless of their situations in order to mentor the younger generation. The message is “if you are going to help create a human life then be responsible enough to be sure he/she gets every chance to flourish in it–to be successful”.

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