Dads for Life [Video]
“Dads For Life” is a national movement that inspires and enables fathers to recognize the importance of their roles to their children and husbands to their spouses. The main objective of Dads for Life is to motivate and include fathers to become positive influencers in the lives of their children throughout. The movement also looks into letting fathers in Singapore and Singaporean fathers overseas to connect, share and support each other in their growth as fathers. Research regarding the benefits of “paternal involvement on child development in terms of improved cognitive, socio-emotional, psychological and academic outcomes” has been done and is what this movement is based on. It is also found that there is a relationship between active paternal involvement and better couple relationships, decreased levels of maternal stress and encouraging changes in a father’s self identity. These benefits lead to an overall better family.
Fathers in Singapore can do their bit and sign up with Dads for Life at their website http://dadsforlife.sg/. Here they can be informed of the various activities that is happening or that will be conducted. Also, they can read about the different experiences shared by other fathers about the journey towards Fatherhood. Overall, this movement serves as a common ground for fathers to share experiences and gain knowledge and insight of how to improve themselves to become better fathers and ultimately raise a loving, nurturing and happy family.
Dads for Life is an initiative of the National Family Council, and is supported by the Fathers Action Network (FAN).
Muslims fathers especially can take note as this movement encourages what Islam does. Being a provider for your family is not the only responsibility that you have. Being caring, loving, compassionate and understanding both as a husband and as a father are cornerstones of the character of Prophet Muhammad SAW.
Watch the video below to see what the campaign has done since its inception slightly over a year ago.
Fatherhood in Islam
There is no question that the discourse on parenting in Muslim texts and tradition has centered on the status and role of the mother The mother’s influence on the infant child is far greater than that of the father. The first madrasah is after all the lap of the mother, but in no way does it diminish the discourse around the centrality of fatherhood and its importance in building a cohesive family unit and in turn a healthy pool of young people who can contribute to the larger society.
Most of us think of fathers as providers and disciplinarians but their role does not end there. In fact, our fathers are key in engendering qualities, in both daughters and sons, that allow for a comprehensive and refined personality to take shape as we mature and become older. Studies have shown that fathers who are present in the lives of their children help build qualities such as affection, responsibility, moral compass, hard work commitment and so on.
The three qualities which if fathers are able to struggle with and help bring to the lives of their children would have a major developmental impact are loving-affection, presence and guiding hand.
An inspiring role model, a friend, a teacher and the source of practical advice
Allah SWT says in Quran, Surah Luqman:
13. Behold, Luqman said to his son by way of instruction: “O my son! join not in worship (others) with Allah. for false worship is indeed the highest wrong-doing.”
17. “O my son! establish regular prayer, enjoin what is just, and forbid what is wrong: and bear with patient constancy whatever betide thee; for this is firmness (of purpose) in (the conduct of) affairs”.
18. “And swell not thy cheek (for pride) at men, nor walk in insolence through the earth; for Allah loveth not any arrogant boaster.
19. “And be moderate in thy pace, and lower thy voice; for the harshest of sounds without doubt is the braying of the ass.”
These verses demonstrate a father whose loving-affectionate language shows love, respect, humility and friendship to his son. A father who had worked and built the trust of his son, so when he needed to be a guiding hand in his life, the relationship was built on solid ground where his son would listen and take the guidance and moral compass to heart. A father who exemplifies his presence in the life of his son by understanding when and what type of friendship and advice is needed and provided it at that time.
There is now a great deal of research in the influence that good fathering has on children. A recently published review on the impact on fatherhood by the US National Institute of Child Health and Human development shows that a child with an involved dad typically has better social skills by the time he or she reaches nursery.
Sons and daughters need their fathers to spend time with them. Sons who are deprived of their father’s companionship and affection are more likely to become delinquent or deviant in their teens. Daughters who fail to receive their father’s attention and praise are more vulnerable to sexual predators as they unconsciously search for a loving father replacement. A desperate need for love and validation has led many teens to forbidden and self-destructive behaviour, while kids who do sports and have fun with their father tend to have fewer social problems such as smoking or drinking, and they are more likely to have a stable and fulfilling marriage relationship in later years.
A father must understand his great responsibility towards his children, use the best methods in bringing them up, demonstrate his love and affection for them, spend on them, willingly and generously, not discriminate between sons and daughters in his affection and spending, instill good behavior and attitudes in them.
There are many pressures on men today, such as working hours, that sometimes it is very hard to fulfil these complex and difficult roles. But whatever the circumstances they must never neglect their duty to be compassionate and sensitive.There does not exist an ideal parent or father. Yet it is the struggle of constantly attempting to improve ones relationship that is seen and appreciated by children.