July 22nd, 2024

Let’s Chat: Fathers and those who assume the role

By Linda Tooth on June 26, 2024.

Why do fathers get treated differently than mothers when it’s time to celebrate them? I cannot imagine a time when my parents were alive and we did not acknowledge them on their special days. I know not every man is a great father, but many out there do fantastic jobs for little reward.

Many fathers try to do their best daily to be the role models their children deserve. Work commitments and sometimes the breakdown of marriages make it hard for fathers to be there at every event their child or children take part in.

That does not mean they do not love you; it might mean they are working hard to provide a lifestyle they think you want. Masculinity and our assumptions around what it means to be a male living in this world make it hard for men to express their feelings and emotions to those they love.

I recently read an article in the News titled ‘Prison program offers incarcerated dads valuable lessons on bonding with their kids.’ A father who is currently incarcerated and has four children is learning how to be that positive presence in their lives thanks in part to the Dad Hero program.

Since 2017, this program has helped nearly 1000 men learn how to be better in their role as fathers. Thanks to the funding generosity of Movember, this learning tool can impact the lives of many dads.

Men’s mental health is at an all-time low. According to a CBC News report from 2021, the victims of 75% of deaths by suicides in Canada are men. The report goes on to say that men are three times more likely to have addiction and substance abuse issues than women.

Why is that? What needs to change?

Maybe it is the perceived notion of what masculinity is and how it is projected.

Every culture is different in how the roles of men are perceived. In some Asian countries being a man and masculinity means having a good job, being a man of honour and being in control of his own life. In North America being a man and masculinity often mean dominance, aggression and being competitive.

Unbelievable difference.

As a society, those working in the gender-based violence sectors realize we have a lot of work to do to be more accepting and kind. Men and those who are fathers, please realize we are working on correcting this injustice.

If you did not contact your father on Father’s Day, reach out to him. Your kindness can be the start of a better relationship.

Linda Tooth is a positive culture co-ordinator with Sanare Centre

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