Wed | Aug 4, 2021

Letter of the Day | Fatherhood is a continuous journey

Published:Monday | June 21, 2021 | 12:06 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

Fatherhood represents choice. A father is a woman’s choice to carry seed, hope, aspirations and future in life form. Where fatherhood was not chosen but imposed, it represents both fear and favour in the outcome, which is only tempered by divine will or the mother’s reference to a male figure of influence.

A man cannot become a father without the choice of a woman. A woman’s choice of a father is the single most important choice that is made in the life of an individual. A father provides structure, while a mother provides guidance. These are interdependent roles which are influenced by socialisation or influence from other male-female relationships.

A man is nurtured in an environment in which the mother draws reference from her own male-female experiences, while at the same time deferring to the structure provided by her choice as father. The lack of desirable influences or making regrettable choice for father will lead to an undesirable outcome.

A father represents the primary line of authority and structure in society. Fatherhood represents our first encounter with power and authority, and sets the tone for social interactions and outcomes. Fatherhood therefore provides the reference for all relationships!

A woman is unable to provide the benefit of fatherhood or father a child without male influence or input! Neither can a man provide nurturing without reference to his own mother or female references.

To deliberately act to eliminate or lessen the influence of mother or father in the life of a child is fundamentally inhumane.

Relationships, while subject to various social influences, are primarily influenced by patterning, or copying. While a mother will bring her influences from past experiences to bear on the life of a child, it is the father who provides the dominant structure for patterning. A child CANNOT pattern a non-existent father!

A child is at a disadvantage to cultivate a relationship with authority and power structures without a source of reference. A woman is both carrier and guardian.

The role of fathering – to provide, protect, care, bond, mentor, etc. – is a deliberate decision which does not necessarily flows from being named father. In fatherhood and fathering there presents a vast difference between perception and what is demonstrated. The possibilities and capacity for fathering are best gleaned from the influences patterned. A father cannot become what he is not, or has never seen, heard or practiced.

Fatherhood represents the point of social cohesion. Without structure there is social disintegration. It is only when our sons and daughters make their own choices that our success as fathers will be evaluated.

ANTHONY ATKINSON