Dads and daughters go together

BLUSHES and hilarity prevailed during a poignant Father's Day social at a school in Johannesburg at the weekend. But, vital life lessons were taught and learnt, during the celebration of fatherhood and male parenting held at St Mary's School in Waverley.

BLUSHES and hilarity prevailed during a poignant Father's Day social at a school in Johannesburg at the weekend. But, vital life lessons were taught and learnt, during the celebration of fatherhood and male parenting held at St Mary's School in Waverley.

A priest highlighted the importance of this special day for the dads and the roles they play in their children's lives.

Several older girls read out well-wishing messages to their dads. These carried overflowing innocence, adoration and reverence for the children's fathers.

While almost every dad is a superman-like figure in children's eyes, the priest warned the children that they should not always expect the world - and more - from dads, because they are only human.

After a melodic Happy Father's Day song from the girls to their dads, it was the men's turn to sing a Happy Daughter's Day song to the girls, and the girls blushed and broke out in hysterical guffaws.

Significantly, the almost deafening baritone-like chorus highlighted a simple fact: that their dads had - for once - dropped all scheduled adult and/or work-related tasks to share a special moment with their children.

For the dads, the home truth was manifest in the joy that played prominently on the girls' faces, resounding from their tiny voices as they sang for their super dads; while the occasion's importance proved to be a significant bond between the parents and their offspring.

Historically and culturally, fathers are seen as playing a vital part in their children's upbringing, with the time they spend together - referred to as quality time - being an important ingredient.

Gayleen Baxter, chief executive of talent management company Kelly, says there is no doubt that fathers love spending time with their children but with the pressures of work and life, it can be challenging to find the time to spend with the kids.

Baxter said dads should assess their life goals and choose careers and employers that provide a healthy balance between work and home life.

Baxter offered the following tips on how dads can create quality time for their families, particularly their children:

l Use accumulated leave to spend time with your family;

l Take a day off to fetch the kids from school and for an ice-cream, or to the movies;

l Alternatively, you can use your leave, or a few days off, to take the family on holiday;

l Always greet your family with a smile, no matter how bad your day has been;

l Don't bring your work home. If you have to bring work home, attend to urgent matters after the kids have gone to bed;

l If you are working late, try and make sure that you are home in time to tuck your children into bed;

l In the evenings, relax and have fun with your family after work, and make sure to eat around the table or play board games, instead of vegetating in front of the television, or typing aimlessly away on your computer or laptop;

l Make time for you and your partner to spend as a couple; this is extremely important in maintaining a healthy balance and of course, a healthy marriage. While you have fun with your partner, a friend, relative or a babysitter could look after the children;

l During weekends, offer to look after the kids so that your partner can have some time alone to shop, pamper herself or just to catch up with friends.

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