08 Sep Happy Father’s Day
Yesterday was Fathers’ Day. According to that great source of unquestionable knowledge, Wikipedia, Fathers’ Day is a celebration that started in the early twentieth century to complement Mother’s Day in celebrating fatherhood and male parenting, and to honour and commemorate fathers and forefathers. Fathers’ Day typically involves gift-giving, special dinners for fathers and family-oriented activities.
When I started thinking about writing this tip it was of interest to me that Mothers’ Day significantly pre-dated this male equivalent; but I suppose this shouldn’t be much of a surprise as it is a relatively recent phenomenon that men have really taken an active interest in parenting. One only needs to watch a movie or some television from the 1950’s or 60’s (or in some cases, even more recently) to see that the father’s role barely and rarely extended beyond throwing a ball around the back yard with his son (rarely interacting with daughters) and occasionally turning some meat on a barbeque.
These days, however, much more is expected of fathers and it should also be noted that most fathers want to contribute much more. From a positive psychology perspective this can only be a good thing as children will learn many of their lessons from observing their parents in action and these observations should not just be limited to mothers. Seeing a father take an active interest in his children’s lives will send an important (even if obvious) message – that his children are important. And for the father, sincerely believing that one’s children are important can impact positively in many ways including balancing the stresses of work; providing perspective and context for life in general and specifically beyond work; generating opportunities for fun and play; and quite simply contributing to happiness through important emotions such as love, compassion, empathy, joy and satisfaction (to name just a few).
Now I don’t want this week’s mailing to be interpreted as suggesting, in any way, that I’m only interested in the role of the father or that I think only fathers work; that’s definitely not the case. But this day does provide us with an opportunity to celebrate the wonders of fatherhood, something that’s not always fully appreciated or enjoyed as much as it possibly could be.
And the wonders of fatherhood could be, I believe, so much more wonderful for so many more fathers if a few (relatively) simply factors were taken into account. First and foremost, and this applies just as much for mothers or (for that matter) any person in any relationship, we all want to have quality time with our loved ones but having worked with many couples and families over the years, and being a father myself, I’ve no doubt at all that it’s difficult (if not impossible) to have quality time without quantity time.
Quantity time is important for at least two reasons. First, we don’t always know when the quality moments will pop up so the more time you spend with your kids the more you increase your chances of experiencing one or more of those wonderful moments. And second, quantity time allows us to enjoy and appreciate those “normal”, not necessarily special moments which make our lives what they are.
So this Fathers’ Day, make a commitment to spend more time with your children, your family and with your loved ones generally. It’s unlikely you’ll regret missing an hour of work or watching sport, but you might (in years to come) regret not attending that birthday party or school concert; you might regret not spending more time simply reading or playing with your children; and you may even regret not getting to know them before they’re too busy to want to know you.
Have a great and happy week…