With Father’s Day approaching this weekend, I have been prompted to reflect on the important role dads have in the raising of daughters. My own dad, though not living at home with me and my mum from the time I was 7, played an important part in my development. I enjoyed reflecting on this last weekend when our family and friends got together to celebrate Dad’s 80th birthday! As a child and adolescent I looked to Dad to provide an alternative view of the world to that provided by my mother and was keen to test my ideas and thinking with him when I spent time visiting his place on weekends. During our time together he fostered my love of nature and my appreciation for the outdoors, he took me to places I might not otherwise have visited and taught me some practical skills, such as riding a bike and reversing a trailer! Now, as an adult, I still enjoy hearing Dad’s perspectives on the world (he likes to engage in passionate dissertations about the evils of global warming) or to accompany him on a walk in the country.
Of course for some, Father’s Day is not an easy time. Last year my Dad gave me a scare when he unexpectedly needed a quadruple bypass. He is now recovering well and is back to regular bushwalking adventures, but the event made me particularly remember that some girls and families will be spending Sunday without their dads, or will be perhaps navigating a challenging time in relation to their fathers. My thoughts are particularly with those in our community who might be managing these situations.
No matter what your personal circumstances, however, I hope that on Sunday you can celebrate those in your life who provide fatherly advice, offer you protection or provide for you as a father figure. I hope for each of our girls that she has a male role model in her life who can perhaps provide enrichment for her and I encourage the dads, uncles, brothers and males of influence to embrace the opportunities they have to play an active role in the development of curious, resilient, confident young women.
I am looking forward to sharing our special Father’s Day Breakfast with many girls and parents tomorrow morning in the Joan M Garde Cultural Centre. Each girl is invited to share a buffet breakfast with her father or a man who is of special significance in her life.
I wish all fathers a happy Father’s Day on Sunday.