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FATHERHOOD

CATHOLIC NEWS By Selwyn Bhajan Sunday, June 17 2007

FATHERHOOD demands of us a sense of personal responsibility that requires conscious and deliberate attention to the formation of home environments and values, via which we create the foundation of our children’s future. While we may be familiar with all the fathering and parenting jargon around, fatherhood is not just about knowing these concepts about healthy family life, but about living these principles on a consistent and sustained basis. More than from their educational and schooling influences, our children’s sense of self, life aspirations and responses to the challenges of the future depend significantly on what we as parents impart to them during their delicate years of loving nesting in the homes we provide.

Our children’s understanding of marital relationships, their sense of what is acceptable or unacceptable behavior in their relationships with others in society, their work ethic, sense of nationalism, attitude to ethnic differences, perception of social and legal justice, their management of time and money, and their relationship with God and God’s creation are all formed, influenced and affected by our parental styles and messages.

That is why we have to be careful, conscious and constantly reflective about our impact as parents. That is why, as fathers we must embrace the gift of fatherhood by making intelligence choices of attitudes and behaviours, knowing that how we live - what we celebrate as our values and what we sow in our home - will grow and bear fruit in and through our citizens.



BUILDING BALANCED HOMES AND FAMILIES

Our children are our “immortality.” We will live forever through them. We will create tomorrow through them. What an awesome responsibility.

What we live, how we live, the values we project, the relationships we develop or destroy, the love we radiate, our sense of hope and purpose and our own demonstrated spirituality are our eternal legacy through our children.

Our children expect that their fathers will provide stability, security and protection in their homes. They expect that their fathers will be moulding influences, teaching them about - and guiding them through - the dangers and challenges of the external world. They require that as fathers, as parents, we respectfully listen to their concerns and assist in resolving difficulties. They expect that fathers will accompany mothers to PTA meetings, regularly share meals with them, laugh, play, have fun with them, celebrate their birthdays and family joys and sorrows and, along with their mothers, establish rules and a disciplinary code for the family.

Our parental language, while often formative and disciplinary, must not be abusive and emotionally destructive. No one, including fathers, is expected to be a perfect being. It is healthy that our spouses and children should also see us as individuals reaching, even sometimes struggling, for higher goals and ideals in our career, workplace and relationships - including our relationship with God, the greater Father of all.

Trinidad and Tobago needs us as men and as fathers to reflect on our critical role and responsibilities in the building of balanced homes and families, which will become the foundation for a more stable national society - one based on hope, healthy lifestyles and authentic spiritual values.

A wonderful Father’s Day to all of us fathers and God’s blessings for us to become the Saint Josephs of our homes.

Selwyn Bhajan is the father of two girls and one boy. He and his wife Lisa are both members of the Living Water Community. They have been married for 28 years.

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