Celebrating Fathers

Yes on the third Sunday in June, we celebrate a day in SA that is known as Father’s Day!!

To all our dads out there HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!!

I hope that you all have a wonderful day with your children and that you are spoilt with the gift of their presence and their company, no matter how big or small they are.

More importantly though for me is the fact that we need to recognise not only those men who are biological fathers, but also those who have stepped in and taken on the very important role of father and role model for the millions of children who don’t have that in their lives. Yes, there are men out there who have fathered children but who do not want to be fathers. Many of them have walked away from their children, not been allowed to be part of their children’s lives or simply never got involved to begin with. Whatever the reason, there is a huge need in the life of a child to have this figure. A father plays a vital role in a child’s life…I hope that there is no doubt about this out there…but for those who don’t know or believe it, here are just a few point on what a father adds to his child’s life.

  • A father’s responsiveness to his children and his emotional availability are key characteristics in a child’s development.
  • Children whose fathers participate in the emotional side of parenting (e.g., comforting) have higher self-esteem than children whose fathers are less involved.
  • In early childhood, a father provides approval and recognition of the child and also helps the child become more autonomous and self-assertive.
  • Paternal involvement seems to predict adult adjustment better than does maternal involvement
  • It is crucial to note that children of both sexes identify with both parents. A feminine young girl and a masculine little boy will incorporate aspects of both parents into their own personality. A father should be able to communicate to both sons and daughters so that they can become like him.
  • Unquestionably, fathers can help their children develop a sense of competence, security, and self-control.

A father is someone who is emotionally and physically available and present in the daily life of a child. Someone who a child can look up to for guidance, support, understanding and most importantly love and acceptance. Someone who will nurture not only the physical but also the spiritual and emotional aspects of a child. A sperm cell does not make you a father…it makes you a donor… you need to earn the right to be called a father by the active role that you play in the life of your children.

My absolute pet hate is when you are having a conversation and people must make a point of telling you that so and so is the step mother or step father… I just find that so offensive…hello, that person was there to step into the shoes of the parent who didn’t want that responsibility…who didn’t think it special or important enough to take the role themselves….or who simply did not do a good enough job of it… and you have the audacity to reduce them to nothing…I don’t think so, not in my company!

I am a father of three children…one child is mine biologically, and the other two are mine by marriage and choice. The funny thing is that they were never raised with the words stepdad or half dad or Uncle Dave, no! They are my children…full stop. I have raised them and loved them and cared for them the same as I have for my ‘own’ child. This whole stepparent thing is yet another social construct that has actually ruined the lives of so many people. People who have tried to do well, but have been broken by the ignorance and judgement of fools…

So for me Father’s day is not a blanket amnesty for all the assholes out there who have neglected their duties as fathers.  It is about celebrating a role that is filled by so many awesome and incredibly special men that come in all shapes, sizes and forms such as fathers, grandfathers, uncles, pastors, teachers and coaches, men  who have assumed the role of father to children who are not biologically their own.  These fathers often play a much bigger and more important role in the lives of children than biological parents do.

A huge big thank you to all the men out there who take this to be a serious job, and who pour their heart and souls into building strong resilient and healthy young people.

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