30 August 2019
This weekend we celebrate, thank and high-five those amazing men that we have called ‘dad’ and/or have actively parented through the years. Fathers who place their children’s needs above their own and sacrifice themselves each day for the care and support of their families.
The stats tell us that there are 4.6 million dads in Australia and just under half of those are caring for children under 18. These reports also state that the role of a father in 2019 has changed dramatically in the past few decades to someone who is now more likely to change a baby’s nappy, wash clothes and bake a birthday cake.
One thing that doesn’t change can be seen in the most googled searches for buying dad’s gifts. The top searches in the days leading up to last year’s Father’s Day was GPS navigation devices. That’s right, it seems that although there are many ways dads have evolved over time, they still have little to no idea how to stop and ask for directions! True story - these were officially my first two arguments with my wife; finding an address on a map, and putting a flat pack together without the instruction manual. We just hate getting help when we know we can do it ourselves.
So I guess you can see where I’m going with this. It may be a cultural thing or even just what’s been handed down to us from generation to generation, but we don’t seem to ask for directions easily. Dads around the world are expected to fulfil a role that can often be overwhelming and yet don’t have the skills to know when to turn to another for a helping hand. I see how the women in our lives do this so much better and they seem to know when to reach out. However, I fear that this is not restricted to just gender differences, as many still find it hard to admit their needs and be vulnerable to another human being.
Dads, this weekend as we receive breakfast in bed, or socks or jocks that are way too small for us to wear, let’s remember that in our roles as fathers we desperately need improving and help. We need instructions, and we need to speak to our wives, mothers, daughters and sons more. Let’s admit when we drop the ball and do our best to be there for our families.
To the women in our lives, we need your help. We can learn so much from each other. Let’s stop the blame game and start to mend and heal so that those kids watching us can learn from what we do, not just what we say. Frederick Douglass once wrote, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
And to the kids that we teach at Avondale School, we might not always get it right, but we want you to know that you can be anything you want to be. Maybe even one day, a great mum and a great dad who love unconditionally. “The righteous man walks in his integrity: His children are blessed after him.” Proverbs 20:7
Primary Wellbeing Coordinator