My father passed away a few years ago and I think of him often. A wonderful man. Our thanks to Nigel for this. He writes:
This piece moved me as it describes a “traditional” father. As Bel Mooney points out, her son and son-in-law, like the majority of modern fathers, carry on doing their best for their families in a world that ignores their contribution or even denigrates it.
It’s a moving piece on how the qualities so necessary to sustaining stable family life have been transmitted to her generation and on to her son. As I reflected on this later I read yet another article – on UnHerd – on the growth in knife crime amongst teenagers, in which the author trundles on about all sorts of factors, only briefly touching on “absent fathers”. I reflected on the strange blindness to what research actually tells us, our prisons are full of “fatherless” young men, and as the author points out one of the most regular correlations between teenage knife woundings and deaths is fatherlesness in “man deserts”.
It’s crazy to know that in millions of families exactly the sort of story Bel tells of her father’s role and that of her son and son in law, and yet be absolutely blind to the dire results of the absence of all she writes about. There is somehow a complete “taken for grantedness” in our expectations, as if males will somehow grow into precisely the sort of father Bel describes, without all the inputs, help, and attention that girls apparently need just not to be a mental health mess let alone become a woman, and mother.
And here the UnHerd article does hit on an important point. If you do exclude the “role models” and simultaneously bombard boys with denigration, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that some grow up adrift and create their own ways to feel valued. What idiots we are as a society to assume males are so wonderful that they will take on all the roles we demand of them quite in spite of our abuse and denigration.
Feminism in particular has huge reliance on precisely the things Bel Mooney describes, always it assumes men will just “take care of business” and can just keep on giving and helping and supporting and mentoring. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any feminist campaign of any sort that isn’t about receiving something for women, always from men, never is there any suggestion that women should buckle down and help create or sustain something for men, boys or even women outside their narrow sphere.
In the crime-ridden “man deserts” of the USA and some parts of the UK we can see very clearly what excluding fathers and a fatherless society looks like – curiously like Lord of the Flies.
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