“What more could we do for the world right now than help dads be great dads?” John Eldridge – Wild at Heart
There is no degree at university that teaches someone how to be a father. Even if there was, the real-life experience of having children is learnt while living it. The education that most of us receive on how to be a father is from the role that our father provided. This can be positive; often in society it’s not.
Robert Falzon’s book ‘Raising Fathers’ cites some valuable statistics:
· One in three families is fatherless.
· Approximately 40% of teenagers grow up in a home without their biological father.
· Over a million Australian children will go to bed tonight in a home without one parent, usually the father.
These statistics are presented with the hope of leading to an open dialogue for men and women. In particular, there is a need for men to work on themselves through self-improvement that involves their wife/partner and children.
As men, sometimes we perceive that we’re bullet-proof and have all the answers. The reality is that we need to work on our relationships through regular goal setting, spending quality time with each other and working out how to love each other.
There are five main ways to love someone; words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, receiving gifts and physical touch. The important lesson is to discover how the person in your life (wife or child) wants to be loved. For my wife and me, our shared number one love language is quality time. Therefore, time needs to be made a priority.
At St Edmund’s, we have many fathers and guardians who do a fantastic job supporting their young men. They need a support network of friends and mates to both encourage and challenge them.
The learning environment of being a parent is never fixed; there is always room for personal growth.
- Michael Monagle is Assistant Principal- Mission and Identity at St Edmund’s College Canberra