|As I watch my young daughter growing up, like most fathers, I try to do what is best for her. Sometimes that means reading to her, playing in the park or offering her lots of physical attention. At other times, it is about earning an income so that her physical needs are met or making sure things are cool with my wife. Overall, it’s about striking the right balance.
It’s not the sort of stuff that warrants lead items on news bulletins or headlines in newspapers but it is the sort of stuff that sustains me. Of course, I’m not Robinson Crusoe in all this – fathers have been doing it for eons and will continue to do it. Then there are the fathers who do it all without the help of a partner and then there those who, removed from their children, do as best they can from a painful distance.
I guess the thing is, as a father, you have a lot of love to give your children; you want to give it; and you want to give it well. This begs many questions. How best to give? Am I doing the right thing? Am I perhaps overcompensating for the way my father treated me? Or even worse, am I repeating my father’s negative patterns!! Am I too protective? Is the work family balance right? Should I spend more time with my kids? Or should I be taking some time out for myself?
Many fathers asks these and similar questions on a daily basis. On top of this we get many messages in both the media and wider culture suggesting that fathers don’t really matter or, even worse, that they are the cause of all that is wrong with the world. In the midst of all this it’s important to secure a sense of positive fathering – the fact that fathers do matter and that they can make a unique contribution to the development of their children.
This month we’re taking a look at fathering with features from Adrienne Burgess, Graeme Russell, and Martin Flanagan. In excerpts from her recently published book Fatherhood Reclaimed UK-based Australian writer Adrienne Burgess puts the case for the unique touchstone that fathers can provide for their children. (You can order the book through our merchandise section.) Graeme Russell, who has had a long and prominent role in advising leading Australian companies on family policy, looks at how men can best strike the balance between work and family. And Martin Flanagan has a wonderful and pithy story about looking after a sick child.
Of course, you can always check out our earlier articles on fathering by visiting the Manzine section of the site and selecting the topic Fatherhood & Parenting. There’s also Good Things Dad Did where you can read positive father stories.
If there’s something you’re burning to say on the topic of fathering including work family balance then we’d like to hear from you. Either add a thread to one of the articles above or start up a new line of discussion in the Manhood Forums.
Have a great month.
Making the Journey