This is a blog about Fathers and Christmas- see what I did there!
I recently listened to a presentation by Chris Miezitis, Family Nurture Co-ordinator from Fife Council, which gave me a lot to think about. He runs a workshop called Where’s Dad? He asked everyone to consider the implications of their practice on the role of fatherhood. Are we being father inclusive? Is the language we are using promoting a positive message to boys and men about their role in families and as a parent? Is there anything we can change to engage young male carers more successfully?
There are some tricky questions around getting men to come along; not all of the young parents in our group are with their partners, and those who are tell us their partners are working or studying at the time of our group. How would it change the dynamic of our group if we had more men? (We have been known to spend quite a bit of time discussing the more horrifying details of labour.) But perhaps they are desperate to discuss their experience of being at the birth? And why should we assume that there aren’t young men who are primary carers for babies? What messages are we sending out by just calling ourselves a ‘young mums group’ rather than a ‘young parents group’- even if, in reality, men rarely come. And if we do want them to, what can we do to encourage them? We are discussing it with each of the groups at the moment, but I think a new years resolution is to keep it as a hot topic and investigate further.
And it’s worth noting there have actually been several amazing fathers in the group over this term, in the form of talented musicians who have shared their skills! Including Jed Milroy, Bigg Taj and this week’s Young, Hip St (Nik Paget-Tomlinson).
We had fantastic Christmas parties with our musician Santa this week. I know that Christmas isn’t full of joy for everyone- and there are many negative commercial aspects and pressures associated with it. But this year I am sympathising with the Christmas organisers- I’m seeing the whole thing as a hugely ambitious community participation project that is about sparkle, family, inclusivity and joy… the same thinks that we think about here all year round on this project (usually on a more laid back scale you understand.) Play, fun, and quality time together are worth that extra effort- we think it’s important to make that space, take those journeys and we value thoughtfulness. So with that in mind, we wish all the participants, artists involved and supporters of this project a very Merry Christmas! We are so grateful for all the laughs, chats and positive energy of this term and we are looking ahead to very exciting 2016!