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Father's Day reflection

Christian Aid's Education and Campaigns Officer David Thomas is a father of three girls under the age of 10. In the following blog he reflects on the privilege and his joy of becoming a father but also notes the huge responsibilities of this status in a world where damaging gender stereotypes are prominent.


Nothing can fully prepare you to become a parent. You go from being someone who is, for the most part, in control of their own lives to being the on-call servant of a tiny human who from early in the morning demands food, play and fresh nappies.

It’s exhausting, but it’s also an incredible privilege and joy to have this little person in the world who looks up to you, who depends on you, who loves you and who calls you ‘Daddy’.

As the father of three girls under ten I know that privilege and joy. But, I also feel the weight of the responsibility. There is a gripping realisation that I have become somebody’s role model. The things I say and the way I treat my daughters, and their mum, will shape their view of themselves and their relationships with others. I want to help them grow up to be confident and compassionate young women who can fulfil the amazing potential I know that they have.

Even more so, since they are growing up in a world where women and girls are consistently discriminated against. Women make up the majority of those living in absolute poverty. They are more likely to be in vulnerable employment and do up to 10 times more unpaid care work than men. Women are just under 22% of the world’s parliamentarians and 35% of women from around the world experience sexual violence or violence perpetrated by a partner.

As a father, I have the chance, while my daughters are still young, to challenge some of the damaging gender stereotypes that are so pervasive in our culture. I can prevent my daughters from growing up to believe that how they look and dress is more important than what they say and do or that their ambitions and career choices should be limited by their gender. I can also strive to be a male role-model who is tender and caring and who listens to and values the advice and wisdom of their mum.

Fatherhood is a great privilege and with that privilege comes the responsibility to set an example. It says in Proverbs 22:6, “start children off in the way they should go and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” As fathers and mothers, we can model, at home, the values we want to see in the world in the hope that our children will become advocates for a more equal world as they grow.

Tax of Life Report

Happy Father’s Day.

 


 About the author

David Thomas

David Thomas is our education and campaigns coordinator in Ireland

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