Celebrating the good men

Things got a little heated in the lead-up to Father’s Day this year – an early childhood activist suggested it be renamed “Special Person’s Day” and the internet almost broke.

A tidal wave of outrage poured out on social media.

“People still celebrate fatherhood even after their father and grandfathers have passed away, in fact for many people Father’s Day is a wonderful time of reflecting and remembering,” Liberal Party MP David Elliott wrote on Facebook. “Can’t believe that someone who professes to be ‘enlightened’ would advocate such crap.”

I’m not a Liberal Party kinda gal, but I reckon David Elliott Is right.

Fathers deserve to keep their celebration. Their importance as a parent can sometimes be downplayed in kids’ lives, especially following divorce.

Ending a marriage doesn’t just mean leaving a partner, it can also lead to being sidelined as a parent. I can’t imagine how tough it must be for some dads to only see their kids for a couple of days a fortnight; and to be pushed to one side when it comes to major decisions about their wellbeing.

Today is Equal Pay Day – it marks the extra time women have to work past the end of the financial year to catch up to what men have been paid. Pretty shocking, right?

But I reckon if women want true equality it’s not just about things like closing that gap. It goes both ways – we need to acknowledge that both parents are just as important in kids’ lives.

A former colleague, Corrine Barraclough, has become a campaigner for fathers’ right. She wrote on her professional Facebook page today: “Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing Dads out there. Wonderful men, thank you for all that you do. Overnight I’ve had such a flurry of messages from heartbroken fathers who won’t get to see their children today. Photos, rants, emotional words, quotes, desperate pleas for help, family court horror stories – they’ve poured into my inbox. I want to make this promise – I will keep on researching, writing and speaking the truth about parental alienation and the damage it does to children’s lives. I will keep telling your stories, I will keep listening and we will keep pushing for change, together.”

Parental alienation sucks, I know far too many good people – male and female – who’ve fallen victim to it.

My daughters and I are fortunate: I got to see my dad yesterday, they got to see theirs.

Actually it was a bit of a Festival of the Father. It kicked off with my ex and I heading to the local mall to hear the kids performing in their school bands at a street festival. They sounded awesome! It was such a sunny, fun afternoon.

My parents have downsized, so Dad didn’t want any gifts cluttering up their new apartment. Instead, I put together an album of photos of the family for him and we spent time together instead. We shared a dinner at my sister’s house on Saturday night and played a dice game around the dining table afterwards. On Sunday morning we headed to my sister’s again for bacon and egg rolls before my parents headed home.

Last night, the kids’ dad collected them for a Father’s Day dinner. The youngest took a cheat’s version of Diggin’ In The Dirt from Masterchef for dessert – chocolate mousse covered with a mix of chocolate biscuit crumbs, white choc bits, orange toffee, popping candy, fresh orange segments and fresh raspberries – over, plus the girls gave him pressies including a Jamie Oliver cookbook, socks from the Father’s Day stall at school, a photo album, a print of the eldest’s lino cut, Blade Runner on DVD, a Green Day CD and a jar of chocolate sultanas.

I reckon he’d be pretty stoked with that line-up, don’t you?

Here are a few snaps from my weekend. I hope you had a good one too. (And I send a big electronic hug to anyone who has lost their dad or any dad who has lost his kids.)

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