There are quite a few people who think that the raising of children is a woman’s job. Who think that the role of parenting belongs to the wife.
I never understood that view.
If a woman is supposed to bring up the kids, then how is the kid supposed to learn about what it means to be a man?
Children need role models. Both male and female.
As fathers it is our responsibility to teach the “male curriculum”.
To teach our sons how to be a man.
And to teach our daugthers what to expect from a man.
If we do not take the time to teach them that, then we put this very important subject into the hands of others.
I do not see how any man would like to outsource the teaching of “being a man” to someone else.
But as fathers we should teach much more than just the “man-lessons”.
If we want our children to be great students of life then we have to be our children’s best teachers.
And, as any teachers will tell you, the key to being a great teacher is not knowledge – it’s compassion, connection and presence. It is to have the ability to be there for the student to help, inspire, motivate and, yes, to teach.
The key words being: “be there”.
So it comes down to this:
1) Children need role models to learn.
2) To learn about what it means to be a good man, our children need good, male role models.
3) As fathers, that is our most fundamental role – and we should not surrender that task to anyone else.
4) But to be great teachers of manhood, we need to be great teachers.
5) And great teachers prioritise their students.
So: As fathers we need to be there for our kids.
Children learn about the world from the world that they are in.
So, the more you are in your children’s life the bigger affect you will have on the world view they get.
Especially around what it means to be a man.
But the opposite is also true: The less the father is in the picture, the less control or influence he will have on how his child ends up looking at the world.
It is true that many men choose not to be in the picture.
And sure, if you think that your children should learn about what it means to be a man from women, or from strangers – then go ahead and let the women and strangers do the child raising …
Personally I think the job of teaching our children about being a man is a man’s job.
So be a man.
Be that man.
ps. Watch this ad (from a mobile operator in the Philippines) about the need for fathers to be the teachers in our children’s life.
(Side note: This ad is another example of a company in an Asian country using their advertising budget to promote the idea of fathers taking a bigger responsibility in parenting. (See my previous posts for other examples. Something is definitely happening in the attitudes towards men and parenting in Asia right now.)