The P Word

muddling my way through parenting; living life to the full

Father’s Day: we can change the world

I hate melodramatic headlines. The world is full of lazy newspaper sub-editors who never let the truth of a story get in the way of a good headline.

So, you may ask, why have I gone for such a bold title in the run-up to this Sunday’s Father’s Day?

To put it bluntly, because I believe that parenting transforms families for generations. That’s the main reason why I got into this suff in the first place. Good (encouraging, supporting, loving, present, etc.) parenting helps form children who may well go on to become parents themselves, and much of what they do will (at least in part) be a reflection of what they’ve seen and experienced themselves. With any luck, this will be adapted and built on by their kids and their grand-children. And so on. Nearly everything good that I do as a Dad is thanks to the example set by my own parents, as described in this open letter to my Dad written this time last year.

Of course there’s a flip-side too. It’s painfully obvious that bad (neglectful, abusive, absent, etc.) parenting can scar children in such a way that it informs the way they (mis)treat their own children, entering into a lengthy cycle of despair which – if left unchecked – can continue for generations.

Without getting too wrapped up in what makes a good or bad parent (of course no parents are perfect, and I’m sure 99% are fantastic in the eyes of their kids, whatever they may think about themselves), it’s important to recognise the fantastic opportunity that this generation of fathers has to change the world forever. That means you (or your husband/partner).

The tools of a modern father

The tools of a modern father

I’m delighted that I’m living in an era when it’s socially acceptable – even becoming socially expected - for fathers to put their family above everything else.I was listening to a fascinating radio interview with Ben Fogle earlier this week. He was introduced as ‘presenter, adventurer, broadcaster, etc, etc’. His reply? ‘And dad. You forgot the most important bit.’ Then followed a tounge-in-cheek challenge by the presenter about whether his family really was a higher priority than his career. This demonstrated that the default answer has become family first, work second. That’s the expectation.

But for many of us, this is breaking new ground. It’s safe to say that most people who are becoming parents for the first time were born in the 1970s or 80s. To make a massive generalisation, this is probably around the time that the traditional moulds of family life  were being challenged. Without pretending to understand modern social history, it’s undeniable that parenting in the 20th Century changed. It gradually became less a case of Mum looking after the kids and Dad working to provide for them. Father’s Day has changed from an ‘opportunity’ for Dad to spend time with his kids, and more of a continuation of normal life.Think back to the attitudes that many of our parents (those now starting out on the adventure of being grandparents), who were born in the 40s or 50s, were brought up into. How would the way they were parented compare to what our children experience today?Because look where we’ve got to now. More shared responsiblity, more stay at home dads, more blokes stepping up to their role as joint-carer of the little people we love. Dads who are choosing to be fully present in the lives of their children.

So, this Father’s Day, is it time to change the world? Yes. We can do it, one family (and one generation) at a time.

About these ads

Single Post Navigation

2 thoughts on “Father’s Day: we can change the world

  1. Good thoughts Olly.

    I have recently thought that or children are sent to transform and teach us how to become better people.

    Who else knows how to press or buttons and expose our lack of patience, kindness, self-control…?

    Maybe we should set them as our teachers, sent to help us become better people and begin the process of making the world a better place, instead of leaving it to the next generation?

    Perhaps learning and teaching works best when it’s a2-way process?

  2. Reblogged this on samirdawlatly and commented:
    this is a reblog from my friend Olly, with my own thoughts.

    I have recently thought that our children are sent to transform and teach us how to become better people.

    Who else knows how to press our buttons and expose our lack of patience, kindness, self-control…?

    Maybe we should see them as our teachers, sent to help us become better people and begin the process of making the world a better place, instead of leaving it to the next generation?

    Perhaps learning and teaching works best when it’s a 2-way process?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 35 other followers

%d bloggers like this: