Welcome to a weekly feature on my blog – Ben’s Zone. Written by husband… Ben. A foodie, coffee obsessed, ex-smoking, ex-drinking and Ridgeback loving Dad. Who is also seriously into his fitness. You can find him on the blog (mostly) on Sundays. Enjoy!
The Fragility of Fatherhood
It’s Father’s day today and I’ve had a great day so far. I got cards and a bundle from the children to start the day, a semi-lie in and even a present. It’s been super. I’m not huge on the whole ‘dad gets pampered’ style of father’s day, but I do find it makes me feel grateful to be a father.
While I was preparing lunch for later my thoughts turned to how many men I know who, for whatever reason, don’t have contact with their children or maybe don’t have contact with their fathers. I started to think about how fragile the relationship between a father and their children is. I know too many good men who through circumstance are not in contact with their children.
I am lucky to have a good relationship with my dad. Even still though, so many men of my generation are blighted with toxic concepts of masculinity that colour our relationships with each other, our partners, and our children. Not only are the accepted norms of our behaviour twisted, talking about how we feel and what goes on inside our heads is actively discouraged, even if we had the words to do that.
In addition to well-documented risks of suicide, men also frequently find themselves estranged from their children, either on a temporary basis, perhaps via work, or permanently through the breakdown of relationships. Even worse though, we’re not equipped with an emotional vocabulary to express the pain this can cause, let alone rebuild those shattered relationships.
On Father’s day today, text your mate who has had to leave the family home. Or call that guy who lost his dad too young a few years back. You don’t need to say much, it’s enough to know that they’re not alone. Most of all, if you have a son, teach them to talk about their feelings, so that the relationship he has with his children might be stronger. Diverge from those old concepts of how men should think and feel because we don’t think and feel like that. Give him the freedom to be a different kind of man when he grows up, where strength isn’t just measured in how much he can deadlift but also the level of emotional honesty he can maintain in his life.