The Fathering Passage

As we grew by each stroke of the sun, the topics of conversation that came up between my friends and I, evolved with each monumental phase. As fleeting topics shift from education and career to deeper, more personal topics like marriage and owning a property, the complexity and significance of these discussions increase. The topic of fatherhood, especially, has gained more prominence in contemporary discourse, highlighting a shift from traditional perceptions to a more nuanced understanding. I was faced with an amazing topic that was perpetual and evergreen. And that was to find the meaning of being a father in these current times.
Traditionally, fathers have been seen as invincible figures, embodying strength, stoicism, and financial provision. They were expected not to exhibit any forms of weaknesses and were known to suppress their feelings and emotions. Rather than the ability to show love and kindness, their pseudo-successes were measured by how much they earn and dominate.

Additionally, their fondness for secrecy to their children about their struggles and challenges be it at work or relationships, while intended to protect children from adult burdens, often created emotional distance and psychological barriers between themselves and their children. Therefore it is imperative for fathers to tread on this responsibly and find the right balanc;e. As humans, naturally we would gravitate towards something familiar to establish that connectivity. Instinctively, our children sought comfort in this sense of familiarity which can translate to a sense of security in their developing mind. In today’s society, there is a growing recognition of the importance of emotional connection and openness in fatherhood. Modern fathers are increasingly encouraged to express their feelings, show kindness, and share their struggles. When this sense of familiarity is gone, our children will be swayed by a lot of unfiltered and unregulated influences which may have undesired outcomes.

These influences, ranging from sports athletes and pop culture to social media and peer examples, can shape distorted ideas about masculinity and what it means to be a man (Ang Hwee Min, CNA In Focus article: dated 7 Oct 2023,

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/men-lost-identity-crisis-masculinity-male-gender-norms-roles-3824126?cid=internal_sharetool_iphone_14062024_cna

For the children, a father who models emotional openness, empathy, and vulnerability helps them develop a healthy understanding of masculinity. This balanced approach can counteract the often exaggerated and unrealistic portrayals of manhood they encounter in society as mentioned earlier. By being present and emotionally available, fathers can provide a stable foundation for their children’s development, helping them navigate the complexities of modern life with confidence and resilience.
The evolving role of fatherhood today emphasizes emotional connectivity and openness, challenging traditional notions of invincibility and stoicism. By embracing these changes, fathers can build stronger, more meaningful relationships with their children, fostering a sense of security and helping them develop a balanced and realistic understanding of what it means to be a man and a loving, dedicated father.]