Dear Friends,

Well, Father’s Day has been and gone and as some would have it – to be gone for good! As I understand their thoughts, not all families have fathers – they have either left or died; and other families have never known fathers, the children are brought up by one mother or two, or perhaps by one mother and another male who is not their father, or in unfortunate situations, grandparents, or foster homes.

But there is plenty of evidence that fathers, as a genre, are around and for the most part, make a positive contribution to their families and their communities. Yes, there are some terrible fathers, but in proportion, not that many. And yes, there are more kids being brought up by single mothers and two women living together than there were when Father’s Day was instigated. Is this a reason to ditch it?

I don’t think so. I’m a father – not the world’s best, but my kids have appreciated my input into their lives which is ongoing, especially now that they are parents themselves. They don’t make a big fuss of me on the day but they do ring me up or send me messages even when overseas. I appreciate that. Would the world fall apart if it was scrapped? – no, but lost would be a small amount of personal recognition and inter-family love.

And you know, as one who is in the afternoon of life, I sense a trend to knock some of the foundations of our understandings, celebrations, and beliefs from under us. John Howard railed against those who wanted, and have now largely succeeded, in removing Christ from Christmas. It’s hard to find a Kinder or school which will celebrate a Christmas with the familiar stories of Jesus and the wonder of his birth. Religious Education, for better or worse in some places, had been ditched altogether. Australia Day is threatened. Father’s Day is on the skids, will Mother’s Day be next? Logic would say yes, but I wonder if the protagonists will go that far.

I understand the need for multi-cultural and inter-religious understandings in our increasingly multi-faith community. I wish there was more of it. Religious education is one area to be resolved in our schools because an understanding of religion will help to resolve some of the world’s problems. But fathers exist across all faiths and cultures. So, the scrapping of Father’s Day is not related to these trends but rather to a change in family dynamics. I understand this too, but I believe that fathers do need to be recognised for what they contribute to their families and to their communities.  And, you know, that may encourage some fathers to be even better fathers, or even some blokes to become fathers in the first place, but that’s probably a long shot.

Love and peace,

Andrew

Father’s Day

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