Old ideas about what a father should be and do are changing. It’s important to start having important conversations about how fathers can be present and contribute more to their children’s lives than just money.
My Pops and I, an organisation that helps to encourage positive fatherhood, hosted an event in honour of Father’s Day. Around 30 men and women, along with their children, gathered on a cold winter’s day in Sandton, Johannesburg. Many of the dads and dads-to-be at the event were excited to learn all they could about how we can collectively recondition our views of fatherhood and caregiving, and, most importantly, how we can create a conducive society to do that. Part of this includes the perpetuating positive male figures in our immediate communities.
Heartlines Fathers Matter Project Coordinator, Lereko Mfono says that his biggest takeaway from the event was seeing how much the films were able to inspire crucial dialogue around caregiving: “There was one comment during the discussions, a man saying he was unaware of how much extended families play a role in either encouraging positive fatherhood involvement or discouraging it. It made me think about how much work parents need to do in ensuring extended families support their co-raising of children.”
He adds that in most families “Men who cannot provide are generally not seen as necessary in the home and in the lives of children and it was interesting to hear stories from the audience around their experiences with unemployed fathers and how much society has burdened them to provide financially only.”