We have been very often asked about the role of a Father in raising a child –
· What do I need to do? Her mother will come for the PTM
· As it is I am not able to spend time with her
· Its primarily is a mother’s job
· I guess she should come for this workshop. She is struggling with our child.
· I have been trying to tell her to ease out with him, but she doesn’t understand. I am coming for the workshop only for her
· Etc. etc.
If I ask all the children from the age of say 2-10 yrs old – Who is your Hero? Each one of them says DAD! Irrespective of the gender DAD is the Hero
The hero is dad! And we all want to emulate and be like our dad. And that defines the role of a Father.
When we had our first child, I wanted to be at least an equal participant in his bringing up. The reason was very different from what it actually turned out to be! Monica had been working full time, a career woman for whom working was life.
My philosophy of a life partner was to contribute in all aspects of our married life. If she is earning and taking care of Aman and home then I need to contribute towards home and raising Aman. In the early days she was feeding so I took on changing him, bathing him. The question lots of my friends asked was “where did you learn this?” – The answer was practice. That broke one of the myths which I believe in now… – changing and bathing a child comes naturally to women – no it’s just about trying it out and learning-on-the-job.
That was the start of my partnership in bringing up children, and my journey of self-discovery, my journey of knowing about how our society is not utilizing the power of a man and a woman in building a stronger future generation, how a fathers absence contributes to the societal issues plaguing us!
Every human being is born with both masculine and feminine traits. I am not talking about
gender here – but traits. To name a few feminine traits…
· Beauty. There’s a softness, a slight curviness, a delicateness to feminine beauty.
The above are the ones suppressed in the Indian boys and men. These traits when exhibited by boys (men) in our society are considered ‘weak’. These are ones which will make the MAN complete.
Just to give you an idea – Aman now is 17, a millennial, and we all know that as an adolescent boy it’s very difficult to share your feelings let alone cry out. The presence of a father and my sharing of my ups and downs in life with him over the years of growth, has him develop and exhibit his softer side. In the process I got an access to them for myself – completing my experience of life
This gave him the values of not just respecting women but also valuing them as equal.
The Masculine ones are suppressed in our girls and the feminine are the ones which our boys struggle acknowledging and expressing. The father especially in the Indian Context has the unique position and a role to nurture their children. His participation in bringing up children can naturally add the masculine traits which come naturally to the man – in their daughters and the feminine traits in themselves – in their boys.
Above all, Parenting is one of the most fulfilling and a pleasurable experience. It’s been 17 years of parenting for me and Monica. There have been umpteen times in our life – both professional and personal when we have been stressed, frustrated and down. Walking in home and seeing Vaanya’s smile, she running to the door and giving me a hug, took away loads of pressure!
To all the fathers – Why would you want to keep that part of the fulfillment of life away for yourself?
Father – a huge opportunity for self, for the child and for the future of our society.