Hope for the future by Robin Trimingham
I saw something today that really made me realize just how much the world has changed for the better in one respect. I was sitting in a doctor’s office waiting for a friend when a young couple arrived with an infant in the detachable basket from a baby car seat.
The office was rather full and the father had to stand for quite a while holding the basket because there was nowhere for him to sit. He look completely exhausted and kept peering into the basket with great concern for his son. He did not complain, or become impatient, or start mindlessly thumbing through his phone.
He just stood there giving his full attention to his tiny son. It was the most touching thing that I have seen in quite a while, not because he was going through the motions of being a good dad, but because he clearly wanted to be there caring for his child.
This is a far cry from the “Leave it to Beaver” world that I grew up in where fathers were strictly the breadwinners who showed up at the dinner table and the occasion family car trip.
Don’t get me wrong, my father cared about me, but he rarely “cared for me”. This reluctance to take charge of me might well have something to do with the cloud of baby powder that I chocked every surface of my bedroom with on one of the few occasions that he was left in charge of me as a toddler, (took over an hour to vacuum up the mess he tells me) but more likely, it was just not what fathers did.
These days dads push strollers, change diapers and even occasionally take sick days to care for their kids and I think that this is a good thing. In the modern world where everyone works, sharing the carpooling to sporting events, homework supervision, and broccoli consumption oversight duties just makes sense.
They used say it “takes a village” to raise a child and from the perspective of cultural enrichment and positive role models to bond with, that might well still be true; but I think it also “takes a team” to nurture a modern child and the more that men take an interest in actively caring for their children, the more likely that their children will be to be good parents themselves some day.
This comes naturally to some men, like the man I observed today, but not as easily to others who want to be involved parents but are not confident in their abilities. If you have a son or son-in-law who could use a bit of encouragement, there is a great report available from the Best Start Resource Centre which talks about the importance of helping young fathers become engaged parents which might provide a few ideas – because frankly, every child deserves a dad like the one I saw today.
By Robin Trimingham