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Father plays a crucial role

Happy family: the father's role should not be underestimated

Astronaut qualifications are not needed to become a father, but actually being a father requires far more skills than is required to control a giant space shuttle outside of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Too often the father role has been narrowed down to supplying food and shelter, and while that is certainly a positive life ingredient, the teaching of important values for life has fallen too heavily on mothers.

While there are no perfect mothers or fathers in an imperfect world, we all know Mother’s Day is a bigger celebration than Father’s Day, and few will dispute that. There have always been fathers who do their best to avoid just having biological status even when relationships, for whatever reason, fail.

In most cases when that happens it is the mother who remains the anchor in trying to hold the family fort together, especially when children are involved.

In all fairness there have been cases where the father has been the one to hold things together when occasionally a situation arises where the mother is absent through illness, or some other factor of life that impacts the strength of being able to guide and teach young developing minds. That in itself is a daunting task under the best of circumstances.

It is more than encouraging to see the Pro Dad programme aimed at helping fathers in playing a greater role in connecting with offspring and confronting the many problems of the day.

Brenton Roberts, chairman of the venture, stressed how the objective is to provide an opportunity for fathers to discuss and feel free to share concerns they may have in dealing with family matters. The theme for this year’s event, “Beyond Violence and Silence”, could not be more appropriate in light of recent events in Bermuda.

Too many young minds are left to find their own way in situations where the family structure is weakened by internal friction, and this can happen in an affluent home with both parents under the same roof. In the case of a single parent the task is made far greater because finding quality time for a young mind while working two or three jobs to keep things running is a strain all around.

A very experienced senior citizen told me the other day that he felt a major part of problems in Bermuda today, is that materialism has overtaken spiritualism, and that values taught years ago have been pushed aside by too many in the rush for material gain. There is nothing wrong with having comforts of the day, but if important values are ignored in the process, reality dictates that consequences will follow.

It is deeply disturbing when we hear reports of young people gravitating to gang activity, some with ages barely in double figures, because this is an indication that something is dreadfully wrong in the state of mind of some youngsters who seek recognition no matter where it comes from.

Most mothers do their best to point children towards positive activity, but this job also requires significant input from fathers.

The key issue here is that there is a critical need for fathers to play a larger role in the teaching of values instead of relying on mothers to carry most of the weight.

The role of the father should never be underestimated, even though there are so many cases where after gaining father status, they follow this up with a vanishing act as though to avoid the responsibility that is expected.

Nothing new here, but a neglected mind in any society is vulnerable to harmful negativity which is an ever constant danger.

Nothing is going to change, until the true value of the family can be restored as an essential part of community life.

Most of us treasure the role mothers have played down through our history and indeed today.

But we need fathers, no they don’t have to be perfect, as long as they are willing to stand up for decency and truth with a commitment to pass such values on to the next generation.

More effort in this area would go a long way in helping mothers during challenging times for the Bermudian family.

At least the Pro Dad programme is a powerful step in the right direction.