Had Carol not asked you to accompany Farrah, your step-daughter, to school when they opened last week, you would never have known the directions to her school despite having lived with her for two years now.
When school opened, there was a small workshop where the school displayed its facilities. They hoped to help kindergarten parents decide if they would bringing their children to primary school next year.
When you got to the workshop, you noticed that there was only a handful of men, against hundreds of women, being taken around school. What struck you the most was how genuinely happy the teacher was to meet you.
“We rarely meet the fathers of these children. It is always the mothers,” she told you. “Really?” you asked, genuinely surprised.
“And even when they come, they are always in hurry, a bit shy and want to get done with things as quickly as possible,” she explained.
Of course you too wanted to get done as soon as possible and the few men who were there looked like they were thinking the same thing. In contrast, the women seemed patient with school administration’s BS. Why?
Truth be told most men are still like their fathers. They look at parenting as a primarily feminine affair and try to relegate all their parental responsibilities to the woman.
Sad. Because you are guilty of this. For the two years your daughter has attended this school, you have never set foot in it. Unbelievable! You find supervising homework rather cumbersome and you think reading to her is a middle-class parenting thing.
Yet it need not be this way. You ought to be smarter than your dad, and stop shirking responsibilities. It is not too much to ask -- that you register your presence in your child’s life. Nothing lifts their confidence higher than when you assert your authority.
The escapist route of only providing financially works up to a certain level, and then it stops. By teenage, if the children have not felt your vibe, they relegate you to ATM machine status and try to find other fathers who could be drugs, sponsors and any other addictions. And you hardly can fix a broken adult.
At the school, you noticed that men rarely participated in forum. It is the women who asked the tough questions, asked about the notorious fee hikes, the meaningless field trips and the mindless extortion and even made a bargain. Men, including you, stood there, cheerless. Most of them going through their phones like they had more important things to do.
Granted, school parent meetings can be boring. Inevitably, you will tune out, but you should be more proactive. How did we become so irresponsible? We have basic outsourced parenting to househelps and teachers and that is why our children barely know who we are.
To many millennial parents, especially the jet-setting type, parenting is an inconvenience and fathers want medals for doing mundane stuff (you expected a compliment from Carol for standing in for her).
Women too have made motherhood sound like a very complicated thing. It shouldn’t be that way. Fathers need to find value in investing their physical and emotional reserve in their lives from the time they are young. The rewards are there in raising properly tuned adults. What is the one thing that you are looking forward to?