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Let’s give fatherhood a better name


I often see little boys in shopping centres with those dead eyes of fatherlessness. I have made a habit of always complementing a little boy helping his mother with the shopping trolley, “I bet you your mum is so glad to have such a strong son helping her push the trolley.” I constantly notice his eyes light up because he has received approval from a male.

These differences especially show up in our souls. Simply, men need three things in life:

• A battle to win
• An adventure to live
• A heroine to rescue

That is why men enjoy films like Braveheart, Gladiator, Mission Impossible, Coach Carter and The Grid Iron Gang. I would suggest to you that none of those scripts were written by a woman.

At present I am working with the Genesis police team in New Zealand who deal with serious young offenders, they tell me that for 98% of these offenders, their dads are not there for them.

I’ve also been asked to assist three top secondary schools to help teenagers in trouble because 89% of their dads are not there for them.

Dad’s make great parents because they naturally believe in the 4R’s of parenting:
• Rules
• Reasons
• Routines
• Ridiculousness.

They teach their children how to take ‘smart’ risks, which is so important as we only succeed in life by taking risks.

Governments and Communities have to get out of the silliness of the 50’s to 70’s and begin encouraging the dream that, “Every child deserves a mother and father.”

Unemployment destroys the dignity of manhood which in the end affects fatherhood.
Nations need to find creative ways to solve this crisis. Schools and Churches need to ask the hard question, ‘why are men missing in their meetings?’

I believe after over 50 years working with youth and families that the ‘buck’ ends with the man. If there is a problem with his marriage or family, if he accepts the responsibility for that, then there will be a positive outcome.

Two golden rules with men:
• Give him a Mission and he’ll make it happen
• Tell him he’s got what it takes to succeed!

Ian Grant has been an advocate for youth and parenting in New Zealand for many years. He is well known for his creativity and innovation in programming to young people.

Ian will be speaking at the World Congress of Families 7 Sydney, which will be held on 15th-18th May 2013 at Australian Technology Park, Sydney. The Congress will bring together many of the world’s leading pro-family advocates from a wide range of disciplines and will include workshops and seminars of interest to parents – the backbone of a healthy society. For more information please visit the website at

Image: Flickr_Thomas Hawk