Greetings to all: Father’s Day is on the horizon.This marks a time when the traditions get pulled out of hiding and the dust gets blown off them. I have always thought that we should honour our Fathers and Mothers every day for the job they do raising a family under some extremely adverse circumstances. It is great to draw attention to what Fathers and Mothers do but they are parents for more than a day a year. Sadly, as with most of our other national holidays , this occasion has morphed into a money making occasion and very little has been dedicated to acknowledge what they really do as Fathers and Mothers.
So, with that in mind, I have put together what I believe are 5 of the most important reasons why a father’s presence and his influence are vital to the success of the family. This is not to take away what mothers contribute but the social science speaks for itself. I refer people to CCRC-Canadian Childrens Right Council and Dr. Wade Horn, Ph.D and President of the National Fatherhood Initiative as sources for research outcomes. I have spent the past 10 years investigating, reading and talking to moms and dads about what they see and think regarding the important role that fathers play in the success of family. I used much of what I learned from these folks and many examples of the available research to formulate the outline for a book I wrote called: “A Man’s Work Is Never Done: A Novel About Mentoring Our Sons.”
(In no particular order) ( I’ll refer to sons more often only because of the male connection between us).
- Fathers provide an important role model for their kids especially their sons. For example it is important they demonstrate the need to be respectful of not only women but of ALL human beings. Currently there are far too few father’s out there doing this work with their sons. Consequently, we can see how well that is working out. We are ALL human beings who deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect as each other. Period. Fathers demonstrate how to live in harmony with strength and courage but also with dedication and decisiveness. Our Children watch us constantly for direction and guidance. We are our children’s true teachers.
- Fathers help to set the boundaries and expectations for appropriate behaviour and are seen as the ‘authority’ when it comes to being stern or direct. Dads create a greater sense of accountability and responsibility. Children ascribe this position to fathers first it seems. I believe much of this to be inherent and many scholars and scientists agree that the idea has a great deal of merit given the discoveries in genetics in the last two decades.
- There are messages that a son can or will only hear from his father. Mothers don’t live in the male realm nor do fathers live in the female realm. Watch a little guy with his dad and you will see admiration, security, wonder and fearlessness evident in the child’s eyes. He feels assured that all is right with the world and that he is ‘bulletproof’. He wants to know all that his father knows so that he can grow into the man that his father is. It is so devastating when that dream is crushed. Many young men never return from that darkened place in their souls.
- Fathers are their children’s ‘real life coach.’ He shows them how to handle adversity and how to problem solve. He also shows his children how to use their skills and talents to their advantage. This often happens with mom’s help and when the parents tag team these situations the child benefits dramatically. It is like being protected by a solid front–‘if both my mom and dad are saying so then it must be true.’ BOTH parents need to be a part of this learning experience. Each parent needs to support the other when having to implement consequences for poor decision making. However, they each need to show confidence and support for each other when dealing with life issues especially those vital to a child’s social and emotional development.
- Fathers bring a different perspective to the world than mom’s do. For the most part, dads encourage their kids to be competitive. Winning is not a bad word to a father. He teaches the value of competition, of giving your best effort, of putting yourself up against someone else and then trying to be the best out there. This is what real life and competition are all about and that perspective is what we lack in the real world right now. Watch when fathers play with their kids. They are rougher and pay less attention to scrapes, bumps and bruises. Moms tend to protect where dads tend to say ‘go for it.’
So what do we do now:
- We start giving dads some respect and equal time as far as being seen as important to the family unit is concerned. He is more than just a pay check and needs to be seen as an integral part of the unit and treated that way. Moms are not the only parents out there so they need to learn how to share more and blame less.
- Fathers need to start growing a pair. Quit feeling sorry for yourselves. Stand up and fight for what is yours–this is your family too. And stop looking over the fence to see what colour the grass is. Your children need a father who loves them not just one who ‘says’ he loves them. Moms needs a hand too. She’s doing the work of two.
- The court system needs to get out of the dark ages and into being a helping partner or get out of the family court business all together. Put it into the hands of a tribunal that has the power and the willingness to facilitate positive interventions instead of meting out punishment for ‘bad guys.’ There are actually very few dead beat dads out there but there are a large number of men who are lost, do not know where they fit in anymore and are very frustrated because they want to be a part of the family but don’t know how to do that anymore (read my book-I’ll tell you how). It’s not the kids that need help and support it’s the parents.
That’s how I see it, anyways–Jim
PS–AND HAPPY FATHERS DAY YOU GUYS–ENJOY
If you want to connect with me or deliver any comments pro or con please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org OR my web site at: jimcloughley.com