Photo: James & his family
Father’s Day 2020 comes amidst a worldwide pandemic as well as social issues that are impacting everyone on multiple levels. Nonetheless, fathers all over are continuing to be the best dads they can be.
During these uncertain times, understanding the importance of fatherhood and how fathers play an important socio-emotional role in families is key. Studies show that in many cases, healthy mental health in adults can be tied to healthy childhood experiences of fathers.
Fathers can help to reassure their families and show that while life is hard right now, we can, and will persevere. I’ve been delighted to see the abundance of dads going viral recently from everything to cooking recipes with their families to performing the latest dance trend. These examples show that the traditional role of fatherhood is ever changing, and dads are more involved emotionally and physically nowadays than ever. This new narrative of fatherhood is refreshing and plays a major role in helping to challenge what we call the “dominant story of masculinity” which tells us that men are not supposed to show emotions, not be vulnerable, and all things associated with unhealthy masculinity.
When I became a father, all personal views on not showing vulnerability or emotions disappeared instantly. I quickly realized that if I wanted my children to feel the love I have for them, it meant that I was going to have to dismiss this dominant story, and challenge my views on what it meant for me to show emotion. I began thinking about the type of world I wanted to create for my children. In my mind, this world would consist of love, peace, and equality at all times. Therefore, I knew that showing love, being peaceful, and exhibiting equality to everyone would have to start with me.
When writing this, I wanted to add another voice about how being a father has changed your perception of manhood and what kind of world you want to create for your children. One of Hopeful Horizons' board members, Jim Rumer, answered those questions and gave us his thoughts.
"Fatherhood has changed me for the better. Being the father of two daughters has taught me to be more empathetic, nurturing and caring. I learned to look at life through their eyes… to embrace the little things in life and to live in the moment. I recognize the importance of being a role model to them, as well as others in the community. It reinforced my belief that actions speak louder than words. To be a father carries many challenges, but it has made me happier than anything I have done in my life," Jim said.
He also added - "I want my children to live in a world that is filled with love and caring, not hatred and violence, a world where all people are more open to views and feelings of others, a world where people accept and embrace different nationalities and cultures, and finally a world where we work together to meet the challenges ahead of us."
To all the fathers out there challenging traditional concepts of manhood and being an example of what healthy masculinity looks like, we salute you, and wish you all a very happy and peaceful Father’s Day!