Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Male Models

I am often asked: “What’s it like being a cutting edge father/stay at home dad/primary caregiver to three kids?” I tell dads who are confronting solo parenting, lead parenting or just “wife has gone to Vegas for the weekend”: Do it your own way. The glory of being a male caregiver is that, since there are not many role models, it’s open for us to make up what makes a good pop.
Look at Captain Von Trap in “The Sound of Music”. Remember how Maria, the problem nun, reacts with horror at how widowed Capt. Von Trap pipes in his children for inspection? Arrayed in sailor outfits and marching in time to his piping, they assemble in a disciplined row. We are expected to mirror Maria’s shock while also being amused at this rigid operation. However, as a father who has to get kids out the door for school five days a week, I admire the good Captain.

Cap had his stuff sorted. Cool, stern but fair. His kids were well-behaved, groomed, fed and actually responded to questions when addressed by an adult. And once they did as required I bet he left them alone to live their lives as he went about his – scoring hot rich Countesses and free-thinking nuns. Many parents are too involved in their kids’ inner lives - that’s why I respect cool Captain von Trap. Also, he can whip out a guitar and sing a love song at the drop of a hat.

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