WITH Father's Day tomorrow let's take a moment to celebrate the wonderful fathers in our communities and recognise them for all that they contribute to the family in so many ways.
From resident handyman and gardener to income provider, advice giver and solution provider (even when not requested at times), to driver, role model, constant supporter, lifter of heavy things, opener of tight-lidded jars and all of the other things that often go unacknowledged.
The many challenges of modern parenting, plus the desire to get it right, can be difficult for many fathers when seeking the right balance and approach that suits them and their style, while remaining consistent in their behaviour.
In reality, each individual's fathering skills are subject to a number of internal and external stimuli including how their own father treated them, their beliefs about parenting, their values, how they see other dads behaving, what their partner may expect, what they read, how they cope with life, work and relationships, and their overall wellbeing.
I feel fortunate that my own father was in my life until his death in 2005.
He was a kind, witty, funny, intelligent and caring man, far from perfect and with many challenges of his own (including three very different daughters).
He taught me a lot and, being human, was doing the best he could with what he knew in the circumstances.
There may be some comfort in the knowledge that no one gets it right 100% of the time.
We know that life can be tough. Fathers are often the ones who earn the greater income and sometimes need to travel away to do that but whatever the circumstances they still have the opportunity to influence and support their children in a way that is different and yet complementary to that of a mother.
So with potentially less contact time the important thing is the quality of that influence.
To me it seems vital that this influence is consistent, unwaveringly supportive and unconditional even through the inevitable tough times.
Every child benefits from having an interactive relationship with a positive and confident male role model (not necessarily the father) who can demonstrate that it's okay to be male and be gentle, caring and loving as well as strong, capable and resilient.
Happy Father's Day.
Rowena Hardy is a facilitator, performance coach and partner of Minds Aligned.
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