Today, as I sat in a café sipping a latte, I watched four young fathers wander past the front door. Each of them held a little colourful kinder bag in one hand and the tiny hand of a small child in the other as they made their way further down the path towards the swim centre. There was not a mother in sight.
I thought how beautiful this scene was and how delightful to witness the connection between father and child. Each of these children were skipping or hopping and every so often would look up at their male parent with laughter or additions to their chirpy stories. Some of these young Dads would nod to another as they passed by, acknowledging the brotherhood of fathers.
I am old enough to remember a time when mothers worked the inside chores, staying home to do so while fathers worked away from home and took care of the outside chores. Many men of my father’s generation were uncomfortable with children and conversing with them. I remember well the adage of children meant to be seen but not heard.
Many years ago, in tribal situations in particular, men valued their families and cherished their role in teaching the skills of becoming fine people through hunting, survival skills and honour. Depending upon the era and the culture, many families shared the burdens of survival and family development. Somewhere along the line in western society, the evolution of dividing roles came to the fore separating children from fathers whom by necessity chased career success for survival and becoming disconnected from family. They were removed from the birth process and events thereafter, leaving them separate from their babies.
Over the years I have heard many, many women lament about their men folk not assisting within the home. Ladies, you wanted your men folk to have active roles in rearing your children and assisting with running your homes. It is happening. I see much evidence of gentle fathers and supportive husbands taking the children for awhile or collecting the shopping with children in tow. Some of them may be single parents while others are taking their turns in the home. Either way, they are taking their roles seriously and with obvious enjoyment.
Let us celebrate our men, none of them perfect but most of them trying to be. Let us not judge them nor assume the man in the playground watching his own children are a threat to yours. We want to encourage our men to keep on the job not scare them off for fear of narrow minded judgement. All people flourish with encouragement and this is what we as mothers can offer.
We can also teach our son’s to be “that man”. You know,.., that man who cherishes the daughter of another and loves her no matter what.
Children flourish with love, connection and guidance from both parents. My daughter will tell you that her best “dance mum” is her father. He is the one that put her hair in a bun and painted her eye makeup the best. He was the most patient on the taxi run and he was one that stopped at McDonalds for that extra drink. She adores him. He adores her. They both blossom with this knowledge.
We can remember that it is not only the nurturing influence of Mums but often the strength and steadiness of such men that will guide their children through the difficult path of living.
We wanted sensitive, loving males in our husbands, partners, brothers, fathers, grandfathers and uncles. They are there, ready and eager. Let us all nourish these males and welcome them.