Thursday, 25 November 2010

Thanks for white ribbons and other things

Today, most of the USA will be ensconced in its Thanksgiving celebrations, and I know that lots of fathers there are looking forward to the family time that this often brings. With all this thanks going on today, I’ve decided to throw my lot into the melting pot too.

In my research, fathers expressed their thanks for a number of different things:
- Thanks that my ill wife recovered and was able to have a natural birth
- Thanks that I have a healthy child
- Thanks that I have a happy child
- Thanks to my partner for being the best mum for my child
- Thanks to my parents who provide essential and loving childcare
- Thanks to my employer’s who give me the flexi-hours I need so that I can pick my daughter up from childcare
- Thanks to my employer who gives me the time off when family complications arise
- Thanks for asking me to take part in this research; I never thought I had a story to tell
- Thanks for listening and not judging me.

And my personal thanks go to:
- the Economic and Social Research Council who funded mine and other important research in the UK
- my loving and supportive family
- the dads I’ve talked with on the internet
- and a whole bunch of people who’ve helped me develop a web presence for my Dad Thing.

But for all this thanksgiving, my research with fathers also highlighted a number of areas in which dads would be thankful to see some change. For example many dads:
- felt that their role was not seen as being as important or natural as a mothers
- felt that society was overly fearful of men’s involvement with young children and that this prevented many men from getting involved in childcare
- wished that employers and the government treated fathers with more respect and offered more support.

Today is also White Ribbon Day where people wear a white ribbon as a sign of their commitment and oath to help end violence against women. Significantly, the White Ribbon Campaign is one of the first male-oriented organisations to oppose violence against women. For this, many girls, women, children, fathers and families will be thankful. So are you wearing your white ribbon today?

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