Focal Point (for publishing-14/03/06)
Dads - Don't Drop the Baton
The atmosphere is thick with competitive spirit at the moment and super fit athletes are chasing down records all around Melbourne. Those in team sports particularly rely on each other for maximum results, especially when they need to be accurate in the baton relay changeovers. I was encouraged to read of the Shire's initiative in offering fathering classes for dads and I want to build the link between these and the baton change. The Shire's offer is to assist single dads or dads in relationships who want to know how to do fathering better. Last year in our Valley Care monthly men's group we ran a night entitled Father Fractures. Nearly all of the men present told of broken-ness in their relationship with their fathers and how they try to be good fathers themselves albeit with poor models for a blueprint. With baton relays in mind I though of how important it is for dads to make sure they actually have a baton to pass on in the first place and when they do that their children get a good grip in the changeover. Men who have had poor role models and little guidance and initiation into the reality of manhood often fall at the parenting hurdle. The outworking of their frustrations with regard to their manhood and fathering is seen in angry outbursts, inappropriate behavior and a need to anesthetize the pain of inadequacy with a drug of choice, alcohol being the most popular.
However help is at hand from various sources and one is from a book 'Father Time' by Daniel Petrie the former Senior Vice Chairman of Microsoft Australia. He writes a great book of reflection, regrets and resolution as to the time he now spends time with, or as he says, invests in his children. It is a book full of challenges and advice for men who want to 'be there' for their children. Dads, make sure you are crafting a great baton to pass on and make sure when you do pass it on you don't drop it. Some psychologists say that a child has got a fair grip on how life works at four and has it fine-tuned by seven. Of course the child's brain is not fully-grown until twelve and the job's not finished there. Teenage years are also vital times for a dad to affirm and express love as this time often determines the track for life. In a few months our men's group will be looking at fathering as a topic for the night and in May, Steve Biddulph who wrote Manhood will be coming to Australia from New Zealand. Again, a great resource.
If you would like to make contact because you're not travelling too well in these matters, ring me on 0409 517273
Graeme Dawson Co-ordinator Focal Point & Valley Care Counsellor & Manager