Classic Articles from the Vault #7

Why Father’s are Special

By David Ahern

Father’s Day will be celebrated differently this year depending in which part of the country you live. Harsh restrictions will be in place in Melbourne until at least September 13, so family get togethers and celebrations will not be possible in many households.

In other parts of Australia, life is relatively normal and Father’s Day may be no different to any other.

When I was growing up it seemed more fuss was made of Mother’s Day. I believe there is still more of a focus on celebrating the role of mothers in society but this is not a criticism, just an observation. No one would question the absolute importance of mothers in bringing up children. But fathers also need to be celebrated for the essential role they play in family life.

I was fortunate to have terrific parents so both occasions were celebrated with much enthusiasm each year. True to say that as a child if I cut my knee or had a fight with my older brother I would seek solace in my mother’s arms. There was always something special about a kiss and cuddle from mum. The world was a safer place and the tears and the hurt were soon forgotten.

Dad’s role was different. We would enjoy a kick of the footy in the backyard, and he’d show me how to shave and how to cook meat on the barbecue. He was always fun to be around and while he loved nothing more than a barbecue and a beer or two, the steak would always be served the same way, well done to near charcoal.

Dad took out the garbage each week and mowed the lawns while mum prepared the nightly meals. Mum stayed home to look after me and my five siblings and dad was the bread winner. It was more of a traditional upbringing. That’s how it was back then.

Times have changed and all roles are now up for grabs. There are stay-at-home dads and there are mums who earn the money. Women play football at a senior level and men flock to cooking classes. There are single mums and single dads and there are homes with just mums and homes with just dads.

While the past 40 years have brought many changes one thing that hasn’t changed is the need for children to be nurtured and loved. The main ingredient here is love.

Mothers and fathers have a vital role in supporting their children as they mature into adulthood and grapple with all of life’s ups and downs. Too many times we read or hear about a person sentenced for a serious crime who comes from a broken home.

There have been no serious role models in their lives and they have gone off the rails. This is no excuse for committing a crime as we are all responsible for our own actions but it may go some way to explain how individuals can reach such a low point in their lives.

And if a child grows up in a household where domestic violence is rife, there is a real danger the cycle of violence will continue into the next generation. Another reason why a caring, attentive and loving father is such an important role model.

On September 6, fathers will have their day. Around most of the country, Melbourne being the exception, it may involve a brunch, a lunch or dinner celebration. Fathers, like mothers, are special. Whatever you have planned, Happy Father’s Day!

You can listen to the first three episodes our new family counseling podcast series of Figuring out Families!

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