This Sunday, many Canadians will take time out of their busy weekends to honour their fathers and celebrate fatherhood. Father’s Day gives us all an opportunity to pay tribute to the important role and contribution that fathers and father figures make in our children’s lives.
In recent years, the federal government has seen an increase in the number of fathers looking for parenting support services. In response to this, incentives and programs have been offered to strengthen the dads among us. I’ve recently become aware of one such resource, “The Father Toolkit.” At 184 pages, it’s still available – and there’s no charge.
Developed in 2009 under the umbrella of the Public Health Agency of Canada, the toolkit came about through the combined efforts of The Community Action Program for Children and Canada’s Prenatal Nutrition Programs.
The Father Toolkit was intended for use by community organizations that have a mandate to strengthen families within their regions. It holds a treasure chest of resources. Along with combining relevant facts and important study details, it provides solid, practical guidelines and methods of reinforcing the “father health” in a community.
“It is our belief,” the developers of the toolkit write, “that an involved, responsible father provides many positive contributions to the life of their developing children.” They list some impressive evidence. Statistics demonstrate that children who feel close to their fathers are:
• Twice as likely to go to college or find a stable job after high school;
• 75 per cent less likely to become teenage parents;
• 80 per cent less likely to spend time in jail;
• Half as likely to experience serious depression.
Likewise, fathers benefit in numerous ways, among them:
• Increased self confidence;
• Increased understanding of child development and milestones;
• Closer bond with child(ren) and possibly families too;
• Increased likelihood that dads will be involved with their communities;
• Involved fathers report less than average contact with the law, less substance abuse, fewer hospital admissions.
The toolkit’s developers point out three other positive results of responsible father involvement:
• Healthier communities;
• Healthier fathers and mothers;
• Healthier, more stable marriages.
The toolkit contains twelve self-standing sections called “pullout toolboxes.” They allow organizations to access the information that would help them most – everything from programming suggestions (dad camps, anyone?) to project planning, to an impressive library of resources geared to assisting families in their communities by strengthening the skills of fathers.
“Fatherhood – it’s the best job on the planet!”