As we prepare to celebrate Fathers’ Day on 16 June, UNICEF is calling attention to the important role of fathers in raising their children. Sadly, fathers in many parts of the world are often not very involved in the day-to-day upbringing of their children. Kazakhstan is no exception, with some numbers suggesting that only 6.6 per cent of fathers are actively involved in the lives of their young children. This is unfortunate not only because it leaves too large a share of the childcare task to mothers, but also because children and fathers miss out on so much if they do not take a big part in raising their children. As a proud father of three daughters and a son, I thought I would share some of my own reflections and experiences.
Anyone who claims to have all the answers on what it means to be a father probably does not have children.
Parenting is not an easy job. It is a journey of discovery, which involves many moments of elation as well as deep frustration. We grow as parents, just as our children grow. We learn from falling down and getting up again. And none of it is easy, at least not the first time around. I have often thought that one of the challenges us fathers face is that many of us do not have ready role models in our own fathers when it comes to parenting.
My dad was a good father and loved me dearly, but he was never very present in our lives when we were children. He worked hard, would come home late and when he was home he was often too tired to pay much attention to us. I doubt he ever bathed me or changed my nappy and I can still remember the few times he put us to bed, because I can count them on one hand.