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Paternalism is Good

Think about men in the media and the picture that is painted often isn’t the prettiest.
Operation Yewtree. Domestic abuse. Violent celebrities. Sexual Predators.
From Savile to Clarkson, Ched Evans et al. From arrogance to abuse and all stops in between.
The media does so much to shape our perceptions.
That being the case, those highest on the news agenda do influence our outlook.
That outlook, when it comes to men just now, tends to be a negative one.
Young boys, teenagers and adolescents do pick up on such things and, like it or not, celebrities, footballers and those in the public eye do serve as role models.
Our children are impressionable.
That being the case, it’s perhaps more important than ever before for us, as parents and as families, to provide positive male influences in order to challenge certain perceptions that, left unchecked, can do huge damage.
Like so much, it all begins at home . . .
Strong and effective fatherhood. Its importance cannot be underestimated.
This might seem to be stating the obvious. But the impact that an engaged and active dad can have upon boys (although the effect is upon both boys and girls in different ways) cannot be highlighted enough.
Young men and boys are growing up in an environment that – in the media, at least – perpetuates an anti-male myth. Men are bad, women victims. There is no middle ground. No subtlety.
For those still growing up, still trying to find a path in life, self-esteem can suffer and confusion run riot.
In this regard, a father’s role is crucial.
In finding that path. In showing the right direction. In demonstrating correct behaviour. In challenging those perceptions.
In showing that, despite the news agenda, men are not, as a general rule, abusive and arrogant, violent and ill-behaved. That punching people isn’t acceptable. That sexual misdeeds have no place in our society. That the behaviours that fill the newspapers are not the norm. Far from it, in fact.
In just doing this – being there, setting an example, being courageous, energetic, practical, protective, loving, conforming to our laws – men are fulfilling a crucial role in their children’s development, health and happiness.
The effects, researchers have discovered, can last a lifetime.
Just recently, those studying such things have published findings that put this all into perspective.
You see, thanks to research carried out at Newcastle University, it has been revealed that those fortunate enough to have spent significant time with their fathers during childhood experience certain benefits that last into middle age and beyond.
Those benefits?
Greater self-esteem. Improved career prospects. Increased social mobility . . .
There are lessons for us all to learn in this.
That children need their fathers, not just to be around but also to be involved in their development. In reading. Organising activities. Taking an interest. Spending time together.
In challenging perceptions. In shaping their outlook.
In teaching them about men . . .
Real men, that is.
Not the men in the media. Not the abusive, the violent and the badly-behaved.
It all begins at home. You are the role model.

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