EDITORIAL - Fathers play a vital role
Father’s Day is perhaps the only day on which we honour and celebrate fathers. Today, we will take the opportunity to take a closer look at the role fathers play in the family. We also salute them and honour the contribution that they make to society through the nurturing and teaching of their children, as well as through their role in heading and completing the family unit.
Historically, the role of the father in the family was to provide financial support since men were the main breadwinners, while the nurturing and care of the children was left to the mothers. This was the accepted societal role that each parent played, and this traditionally-accepted behaviour was usually passed down through generations.
In the past, men have been rebuked because of those who have walked away from their partners and abandoned their children. These ‘bad’ fathers have been given prominence in the media both here and abroad. Many have been blamed, and rightly so, for the behaviour of young males, especially those who have issues related to indiscipline in schools, or who end up before the courts because adult males have not played a substantial role in their lives nor have they set a good example overall.
However, The Barbados Advocate would like to highlight the attributes of men who work tirelessly to contribute, not only financially to their families, but emotionally to the development of their children. We seldom see in the limelight the single father who has taken the place of the mother and works equally hard to ensure his child’s success; nor do we see regularly the father who is going above and beyond to have a relationship with his child/children because he does not live in the same household with them.
Sadly, some fathers face an uphill battle daily because they are not given a chance to have a relationship with their child, due to conflict between them and the child’s mother. Myriad cases have been exposed where it has been revealed that men who want to play a vibrant, hands-on role as fathers to their children are being denied the opportunity to do so by some uncaring, unscrupulous women. This is as unjust a situation as a mother being treated badly, and the time has long come for such instances to be treated as strongly by the law.
Overall, men are realising that there needs to be a balance between working hard all day and focusing on the paycheque, and spending valuable time with the family. Little or no participation in the actual running of the household is no longer acceptable. Men are actively contributing through cooking, cleaning, and performing household chores.
In short, there are many men in Barbados, who, despite the hue and cry about the shortcomings of their sex, have risen above these negative expressions of disapproval and have reaffirmed their place in the home and the society. There is a marked change in men’s approach to child rearing as they, along with society, are seeing their role as more than the provider of monetary support. We acknowledge the progress that our men have made, and continue to make, to the benefit of our country and we are proud of their successes.