Fathering

Happy Fathers’ Day. I understand that, when I wish you that I have to follow it with lots of caveats. I just wanted to say it in a non-controversial, sort of jolly way. Partially to say to Head of House – on behalf of me – I am expecting offspring to sort themselves out – that you are a brilliant Father and I appreciate it.

Thoughts do go out to the following groups who may find Fathers’ Day tricky

  • To all those who no longer have their fathers with them.
  • To all those who want to be a father but cannot
  • To all those who struggle to parent from a distance
  • To all those who don’t know their fathers

This is obviously not an exhaustive list. I have not included

  • Those whose fathers are no longer around and are quite glad about it
  • Those who don’t want to be a father and this day gets on their nerves

See? Tricky.

On top of everything else, there are Fathering issues around gender and femininity. Maybe people out there can help me a bit with this but I never understood who decided that Women were to bring the nurturing and kindness to parenting and that Men were to bring manly things like not crying, hitting girls you like and then running away and watching football.

When I was ill, Head of House had to be both Mother and Father. The thing was that he was just as good at cuddling, washing and ironing and wiping away snot and tears as he was swinging them around by their legs and encouraging then to keep their chins up. And it seems to me that the division is unnecessary nonsense and I also think we need to entertain the idea that someone , somewhere may be making money out of getting us to buy cards and beermats with “World’s Best Dad” on them. No really.

Is it Biblical? People talk about God being a Father but you would go a long way to find anyone more loving, kind and nurturing. This probably explains why the radical, international terrorist wing of the church keep insisting on calling God “she” and upsetting all the men in blazers on the Church Council. For myself, I always thought that God was above ideas of gender – male or female so I have never been that fussed about it. It’s a cop out that I know but there you are.

Many years ago Floyd McClung brought out a book called “The Father Heart of God.” For those of us with a difficult relationship with our fathers or those who had no example of what God meant when he called himself Father, it was a revelation. Those who had only known stern, cold and sometimes violent fathers were startled to hear that God’s definition of Fatherhood was actually nearer to the word “Daddy” than Father, in that “Daddy” speaks more of protection, care and unconditional love. But isn’t that what Mothers want to provide when they push out a much bigger than expected baby or invite a child in desperate need of love and security to come and join their family.

So I think I am trying to say that we shouldn’t make such a big deal of the titles – Mum, Dad etc. Certainly not to the point where you get upset because everyone else seems to have one and you don’t – like a Furby or a Chopper Bike. The things to be grateful for are the people who perform the jobs we understand as parenting – loving, being there, telling you that you are missing it by miles but you can sort it – that sort of thing. If you have people who do that sort of thing for you and they are called Dad – that’s great. If they are called Chum, Gran, Sister, Pastor it doesn’t matter. The thing is to have people that are like that with you or to be like that for someone else.

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