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Celebrating fatherhood for all the right reasons

By Warwick Marsh - posted Monday, 2 September 2013


Yesterday was Fathers Day. I know many men who feel uncomfortable with the attention that they get on Father's Day. I guess for many years as a father, I was one of those. I was very hesitant to celebrate Fathers Day. Many years ago I had the same negative attitude to Christmas Day because of all the crass commercialism. I changed, you can too. As a man once said, "When you eat the chicken make sure you throw out the bones."Whatever the case, I encourage you as a father to savour and celebrate Father's Day when it come around again, just as I would encourage mothers on Mother's Day to do the same.

Mothers are hugely undervalued in our society. We need to do much more than we do for mothers and motherhood. So, just as we celebrate and encourage mothers, we should do the same for fathers and fatherhood. We should not rescind from it.

As a long time advocate for children, fatherhood and true and noble manhood in the public space, I have often wondered what is going on in our society. All the research shows that Fathers are very important in the life of their children. Children with involved and loving fathers will do better at school, will have higher IQs, will have higher maths and reading scores, will achieve more in the workforce, will live longer, are more likely to sustain successful marriages themselves, will be happier, healthier, and will be more socially popular, and the list goes on.

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Children without involved and loving fathers are more likely to develop behavioural problems, psychological problems, commit suicide, more likely to become criminals, use violence, become alcoholics, sex addicts and drug addicts and engage in sexual abuse, be perpetrators of domestic violence and are more likely to end up in jail. Fatherlessness is costing Australia over 13 billion dollars per year. Fatherlessness in Britain is costing86 Billion Dollars AUD per year.

In spite of these statistical realities, parliaments (mostly filled with men) in many nations across the western world have been guilty of passing some very negative anti-male and anti-father laws over the last four decades. It is especially disconcerting that these same biased anti father laws also have a damaging effect on our children. Why? The media also has a strong predominance of men but it too has been guilty of an unwritten bias against fatherhood and masculinity for the last 40 years. Could this bias also be part of my discomfort and earlier reluctance to celebrate Father's day? As Professor Julius Sumner Millerused to say, "Why is this so?"

Let me give you five reasons for the destructive vortex that fatherhood and masculinity seem to be caught in the light of our celebration of Father's Day 2013.

Firstly, we live in a time of increasing moral anarchy. When hedonism is king moral anarchy is queen. The proliferation of porn brings a harvest of broken marriages. The worship of self results in the pursuit of pleasure as a sacred quest in defiance of common sense. We as men live in an age where there are no absolutes except for the absolute that there are no absolutes. This bland moral relativism will destroy our families and each of us if we let it.

Secondly, we as men suffer from a deep sense of shame. In many ways this shame goes back to the Garden of Eden and our own sense of fallenness, but it becomes magnified by our own failure. The fact that we live in a time of increasing moral anarchy proliferates our weakness and multiplies our existing shame to even greater proportions.

Thirdly, the rise of radical feminists over the last 40 years has helped produce a body of thought in academia, which in turn influences both government and media, that seeks the destruction of fatherhood and promotes the demonisation of masculinity. As feminist Valerie Solanas said, "To call a man an animal is to flatter him". Well known feminist Robin Morgan said, "I feel that man hating is an honourable and viable political act". Words fail me!

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Fourthly, our own passiveness cripples us as men. We all need a 'man cave', but we can retreat there far too often. It is always easy for men to blame someone else. In the Garden of Eden story Adam, after he had eaten the forbidden fruit, said to God, "The woman you gave me made me do it". We must accept responsibility for our own mistakes. I have met the enemy, and the enemy is us.

Fifthly, we all as men contain a heroic stoicism which can be a good thing as expressed in 'women and children first in time of catastrophe'. A woman aboard the Titanic was three times more likely to live, while a man on the Titanic had only 1:4 chance of surviving. This self sacrificial trait in men is given to us by God but it can get twisted to the point that fathers refuse to respond to the injustice perpetrated against them, not realising that their children are the ones who will suffer in the end. Sometimes we have to make a stand.

What must we do as men to avoid this vortex of destruction against fatherhood and the male of the species which threatens not only us but our families and children as well? How can we as men openly celebrate Fatherhood and Fathers Day for all the right reasons?

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About the Author

Warwick Marsh is the founder of the Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation with his wife Alison. They have five children and two grandchildren and have been married for 34 years.

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All articles by Warwick Marsh

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