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A force for good

Relationships with fathers can be complicated, but generally we’re better off with them than without

Relationships with our fathers can be complicated.

When we are very young, they often appear to be god-like. A mighty provider to be admired, or perhaps feared.

As we age, we may start to see the cracks in the armour, start to find out just how human they are.

Our dads may be heroes or heels. They may be omnipresent or absent. Nurturing or aloof. Affectionate or violent.

In short, every single dad is a unique individual.

They may be biological, or step-dads or father figures, such as coaches or teachers or celebrity role models or single moms, even.

Whoever or whatever they are, they teach us how to be adults in the world, for better or for worse.

That education can take many forms, from active instruction to behaviour modelling. It can be positive or negative. How to be or how not to be. What to do or what not to do.

Of course, depending on our own experiences with our fathers, we are all going to feel differently about a day set aside for celebrating dads.

Our relationship with Father’s Day can be just as complicated as the relationship with dad himself.

Generally speaking, though, fathers tend to be a force for good in society.

Research shows that children who grow up with engaged fathers (or father figures) do better in almost every way.

That is not a slight on moms, but they already had their day last month.

The good news is that most Canadians do grow up with engaged fathers and that is especially true for the next generation.

Millennial dads take paternity leave at a rate four times higher than previous generation.

Of course, that may be largely because they can, but it does bode well for society both in the fact that we see the value in it and because of the impact an engaged dad has on children.

Happy Father’s Day.

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