Tag: Why now

dad

Imagine a child who gets the one gift that he has always wished for – and then forgets to play with it only to find out that his parents gave it away since he did not play with it.

Picture the couple who never used the “fine China” because they saved it for a “Special Occasion” that never came.

Think of all the people who never approached that girl/boy because they were waiting for the perfect timing – only to see that very same person get involved with someone else because they never knew.

Sad?

Yes.

Sad, because they all had it there all along but let it slip between their fingers.

Now ask yourself this: What is the biggest gift in life? The biggest gift a human being can receive?

It is arguably the gift of becoming a parent.

No love is greater.

No gift last longer or is more rewarding.

No gift gives so much back.

And yet:

So very often do you hear parents say: “What happened to my little child?”, “How did she grow up so quickly?!”, “Why did I not spend more time with kids when I had the chance?”

The answer is simple: They prioritised something else.

They decided that doing something else was more important than spending time with their children.

Probably not because they thought this other things was more valuable – but because they thought they would have plenty of time to play with their kids later.

The sad truth is that we don’t.

Before you know it the kids will be out of the house, living their own lives, and you will be sitting in that very same (now quiet) house asking yourself “What just happened?”

They say time flies.

Well, so does parenthood.

Take full advantage of every day, minute and second of parenting that you can get your hands on and you will leave this life feeling that you lived a life worth living.

Take the approach of thinking you will take the time off “later” and there will always be that risk that you don’t.

That would be sad.

So go for the alternative to sad: Be a dad. Now.

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You know something is changing with men’s attitude towards work vs fatherhood when you see a advertising campaign with the message “Am I a good father?”.

Especially when you realise that it is a global campaign for an investment bank like UBS is making it.

Let me say that again: A global, investment bank is trying to attract new customers by running a campaign about fatherhood…

It is bold.

(And honestly a bit stupid, since the banking industry and especially the investment banking part of it is known for ridiculous long working hours of up to 90-100 hours per week. (Source)

I guess the campaign is targeted at the bank’s customers, not its employees. (Then again, those customers are probably also working way too much.)

But just the fact that a advertising campaign for a global investment bank has fatherhood as a theme is just awesome.

Change can not come unless we first start to address the issues.

Will the men of tomorrow prioritise “work-life balance” more in the spirit of “life-work balance”? In other words, will they put “life” before “work”?

We will see.

I actually think so.

And I think that the fact that someone in an advertising agency thought this campaign was a good idea is proof of it.

And I think that the fact that someone at UBS decided to run it is another proof of it.

Change happens in small steps, but many small steps create a long journey.

I salute UBS for the decision to run this campaign. I just hope that they also make sure that the message that it brings is brought back to its own organisation.

 

(Below is the video ad that goes with the campaign.)

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“Paternity leave is a great concept in theory, but it will never work here. We are just not ready. This is not Sweden…”

I get that a lot.

How Sweden, with its progressive paternity leave policies and comparably more gender equal society can have dads step up and take a bigger part of the parenting burden.

And yes, I am Swedish (but I live in Singapore and I do not have access to the Swedish paternity leave benefits).

And yes, I have started this blog, in part, to help spread the idea of paternity leave to fathers in countries where it is not so common. (In Sweden fathers get 60 days of paternity leave (and soon 90), in Singapore they get 5+5 days …)

Singapore is actually progressive compared to some other Asian countries. Indonesia has 2 days’ paid when wife gives birth, Taiwan has 5 days, Malaysia does not have a law about paternity leave and so on.

Yes, things seem to change.

And a good way to see that is to look at advertising.

Advertising is both a mirror of the state of a society and a vehicle to move it.

Companies will not advertise a message that a society is not ready for.

At the same time companies are trying to communicate a message of change (that involves the customer changing to their product.)

It is a fragile balance of being just infront of where a society mentally is right now.

(think about how ads for homosexuals in the USA has become more and more common as the US society has become more and more accepting of same-sex relationships.)

And that is why I find it so promising when I start to see so many advertisements where companies are pushing the idea of fathers stepping up and playing a more active role in parenting.

Look, for example, at these two ads from Thailand (a country famous for creating the most heart warming and emotional ads.)

(And good to know in this context: Thailand a few year back introduced 15 days of paternity leave for state officials.)

May we see more and more ads like this.

Ads changing societies attitudes so that societies changing attitudes can change the ads we see.

 

Watch the ads here:

 

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