It is great to see so many dads registering to attend our Father’s Day breakfasts and activities. I have also observed an increasing number of you at school events, including morning drop off, assemblies, SALA, Sports Day, and hopefully next Friday’s Spring Showcase event. All fathers want to excel as a parent and be a strong, yet positive, ongoing influence in our children’s lives, but this is not easy.
On occasions I see fathers trying too hard to be ‘cool’ and loved, and not firm when your child needs you to be. There are times when saying no to your child can be kindest thing to do. I see others who are so engrossed in their work that without realising it they overlook opportunities to build a bond and create happy memories for their children.
The importance of showing a genuine interest cannot be underestimated, and they will remember this always. Please remember that working as a united team with your child’s mother and teachers truly sets your child up to be his or her best self.
My own father died a few years ago and, when writing his eulogy, I had an opportunity to reflect on his influence as a parent.
My dad always took the time to listen (but encouraged us to solve our own problems),
he heard each of his five children read (but never did our homework for us), and he never missed an opportunity to watch us play sport, to take us to the beach, to show us an eagle’s nest or to share stories that I have since passed on to my own three children.
More than anything, he was a moral compass; he instilled a set of values that he lived by. I still recall phrases such as, “If you can’t say a good word about someone, don’t say anything at all,” “You get out of life what you put into it” and “It doesn’t cost a cent to be kind”. These still resonate with me today. Through his active community involvement, his devotion to family, his exceptional resilience (his own parents died when he was a baby) and his propensity to have a good laugh, he gave me a map to follow on how to live a good life.
With media exposure to some male role models of dubious quality, the time is ripe for us (and other significant males in the lives of our children) to step up and to be good men: highly principled, kind, loving yet firm when we need to be and role models of resilience – men of honour.
That is the legacy we leave. For what would you like to be remembered?