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Editorial: Fathering is caregiving

The definition of fatherhood continues to expand

Father’s Day (June 16) honours the indispensable role dads play in the lives of their children and families. While it may not carry the commercial heft of Mother's Day, the day set aside to honour dads is a reminder of the unique bond and influence they have.

The role of fathers, who were often seen as pillars of strength and stability within a family, has evolved significantly over the years. They are still providers, protectors and role models whose guidance shapes the future of their children, but today's fathers are increasingly involved in every aspect of child-rearing, from changing diapers to attending school events and providing emotional support. This evolution reflects broader societal changes and a growing recognition of the importance of active and engaged parenting.

Father's Day is an opportunity to celebrate the diverse ways dads contribute to their families, and appreciate the lessons they taught, about resilience, integrity, hard work and compassion.

For some, this means acknowledging the sacrifices made by fathers who work long hours to provide for their loved ones. For others, it involves recognizing the emotional labour of fathers who offer unwavering support, love and encouragement.

Parenthood is a daunting prospect with demands on time, money, self and soul, and the decision to become a father isn’t one to be taken lightly. Many juggle multiple responsibilities and navigate societal expectations that can be demanding and restrictive. There is a growing awareness of the need for paternal mental health support and the importance of creating spaces where fathers can discuss their experiences and challenges without stigma.

The definition of fatherhood continues to expand. It includes not only biological fathers but also stepfathers, adoptive fathers, grandfathers and other father figures who play a critical role in a child's life. This inclusivity reflects the diverse family structures that exist today and underscores that fatherhood is defined more by love and commitment than by biology alone.

Essentially, fathering is about caregiving, in multiple ways, so Father's Day should not be confined to a single day. Whether through a simple gesture of gratitude, spending quality time together, or continuing the values they have instilled in us, every day can be an opportunity to celebrate fatherhood.

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