Fathers’ Day is tomorrow. Nowhere near as many cards, gifts and flowers will go to fathers as Mothers’ Day . In fact, Fathers’ Day, after Mothers’ Day, is anticlimactic. Nonetheless, fathers are important in any equation when we talk about children, that is, children being brought into this world.
Today I attended a conference, Urban Impact, highlighting the importance of fathers in the lives of their children, how in their absence the quality of life of their children suffers. I participated on a panel discussion, looking at fatherhood and mentoring.
I facilitated this exercise, in which I asked the men to do three things: 1) to list characteristics or traits of the “ideal father”; 2) to list characteristics or traits of their fathers; and 3) to list characteristics or traits of themselves as fathers. This exercise almost always reveals that most fathers fall far short of being ideal fathers, and that men, for the most part, become their fathers, both positively as well as negatively. Depending on the population, one can see more positive than negative, or vice versa. (Many men in attendance were living in homeless shelters.)
The event was positive. In any event, after such, it is about action, about next steps.