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Being a hands-on dad somehow makes a man re-look his antisocial/ anti-civic behaviour, as this stay at home dad’s experience tells him. An interesting proposition.
Our 4-years old twin daughters do not go to a formal environment – school / day-care / nursery. We have ample enough time to venture out as a part of their growing up. As the inquisitiveness and the curiosity of a child to know about her surroundings increases, wherever/whenever we go, the girls invariably keeps asking questions like:
All of you also, I suppose, would have heard these questions and more from the innocent children. What has been your response?
I will tell you mine. Honestly, I do not have the courage to walk up to any of the men doing any of the above-mentioned activities and speak to them about what they did / they are doing. I just try to change the subject and try to divert my daughters’ attention elsewhere. The girls keep repeating these questions and till date, I have not been able to give any sort of sensible answers to them.
I had been thinking about these. I saw a connecting link to all these questions – It is always an UNCLE who is doing these activities that the children keep asking about. Why is it always an Uncle/Brother? It is never an Aunty/Sister who are seen doing such activities.
Why is it always a MAN, invariably a MAN?
I would be guilty of all such behaviours in my earlier avatar of being a non-parenting man. Now that, I am with my children, I want to set the best example for them. I would not indulge in any activity that I would find difficult to explain to my daughters.
In Indian society, women bear the primary responsibility of raising children. How many of un-civic activities in the society would get attributed to the women, as compared to the men? You, of course, know the answer. Why would that be?
We see that a man who flouts the civic rules in public, often becomes a different person altogether, when he is with his family. Just that, he does not seem to be spending much time with his family outside the 4 walls of his house.
On the basis the above experiences, I have found a very simplistic explanation of these men’s behaviour: The man who is busy doing the above-mentioned un-civic activities has not lent a helping hand to his wife/mother/sister in raising a child.
I am not at all implying that to be a decent man, raising a child is a must. A man can turn out be a gentleman even without raising a child. Just that, a man doing un-civic activities is necessarily not contributing to raising a child in his family.
After all, no man would want to be seen doing wrongful activities in front of his own growing-up children. A man provides for his family, supposedly, hence no man would want to do activities that will lead to an unwanted conduct to his own self by his children.
The man gradually becomes more accommodative, more progressive, more tolerant, more persuasive – more of all the wanted qualities, once he starts staying at home for an extended period as a hands-on dad, on a continuous and not a one-off basis, with his children.
As a society, to improve ourselves, we have to encourage the active role of men in parenting. I am sure that this will have a cascading effect in us becoming a better civilization with men getting to understand what it goes into raising future citizens and making a better world for his children.
Thus, I present the case for being responsible citizens: be a hand-on dad and raise a child.
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: a still from the movie Mom
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Stay-at-home father to twin daughters and an amateur blogger, ex - rat-racer. I
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