Reflection on fathers' day



While Fathers’ Day has a strong commercial focus, it remains a day of celebrating the most important relationships in men’s lives. Caring for the next generation is a key role for most men and is often associated with images of being the provider and protector. Amongst the many and varied descriptions of masculinity, the relationship that men have with their children is a very significant connection. This connection with significant family relationships can be viewed as ‘the quiet place within’ that Australian men talk about least. It is a personal space that men rarely share. Until recently, it was not until men approached the end of their life, that they often expressed regret for spending too such time at work and not enough time with their family. This reflection is still experienced today, as many men only start talking about the importance of their family relationships after the crisis has occurred, such as family separation.

Australian men are becoming more vocal about this quiet place, i.e. the importance of their connection with their family, particularly their children. What is occurring is a quiet men’s revolution. This men’s revolution is not as vocal as the women’s movement, but it is noticed as men talk about achieving a better balance between work and family demands. The change is seen by how men behave differently as they walk hand-in-hand with their children and proudly push the pram. Some men identify the reason for attend a fathering program, is because they want to father their children differently to how they were fathered. The birth of a child is now a ‘wake-up call’ for many men and an opportunity for them to review the choices they make in life and provides the motivation to develop stronger relationships.

Fathers’ Day means many things for different men. For many men who live with their children it is a day of celebration. Separated fathers who occasionally have contact with the children, view Fathers’ Day as a mixed celebration of what is most important in their life. For men who do not have contact with their children, Fathers’ Day provides a source of ongoing pain.

It is now recognised that many men, regardless of whether they are in a family relationship or are separated, identify fathering as something which is active, challenging, creative, irreplaceable, hard work and a central part of their life.




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