MamaBlogger365 – Daddy, Please Help Me! by Patti Ashley, Ph.D.
In September I was at the Lyons Folk Festival for a weekend of listening to music and enjoying the beautiful outdoors here in Colorado. One of the nice features of this festival is that the venue is set on a beautiful creek-side where children play and people of all ages can relax, cool off and enjoy the splendor of the scenery.
There were many people playing in the water, walking across slippery rocks and attempting to maneuver through the forces of nature inherent in such a place. Across the creek from where I was sitting, I couldn’t help but feel the heart of a little girl crying, “Daddy please help me.” She appeared to be about five years old and she was standing about three feet away from her father. She was trying to get her father to help her across the slippery rocks and the moving waters. He completely ignored her cry for help from him.
Being a person who is always curious about human behavior, and more specifically child development, I turned to my friend sitting beside me and posed this question. ”Do you think that this little girl will grow up more independent and sure of herself because Dad allowed her to handle the forces of nature on her own, or do you think she will grow up feeling a sense of abandonment and loneliness?”
I know that is a big question considering such a small event, however I imagine that one small event represents the overall feeling in the father-daughter relationship. My friend and I both agreed that it would have been much more helpful for the little girl to have her father give her a hand and help her across the rocks.
As I continued to people-watch, I was especially interested in finding a father-daughter dyad that was more engaged. I took some pictures of a man with his fifteen-month-old daughter, as he held her hand and taught her the sensations of the river, with utmost guidance and care. Granted, this child was much younger than the other little girl, however the feeling in my heart watching the love and care, compared to the distance and lack of concern was crucial to notice.
Men and women today are facing a shifting parenting paradigm. The traditional nurturing role of the mother is becoming more commonplace for fathers. I always smile when I see fathers involved with their children. Thank goodness that men are able to be much more now than just the “breadwinner.”
However, when paradigms shift there is often chaos and confusion. I wonder if that is how those two men at the river felt? Questions in their mind about how to be a good father? Questions about how much is enough and how much is too much? Similar questions to the ones that mothers pose everyday.
In light of these current questions, I am looking forward to offering the workshop The Owl and The Hawk: Navigating the Shifting Roles of Parenting in November with my dear friend and child development specialist-Nick Kasovic. I hope you can join us as we explore the changing ways parents feel about themselves today. For more information, please visit: www.motheringbeyondimage.com/workshops or call 720-565-3388.
About Patti Ashley: Mothering Beyond Image helps women connect more deeply to themselves and others, therefore feeling more authentic, mindful and whole. Please visit www.motheringbeyondimage.com — sign up to be on my mailing list and stay updated on workshop information. Mothers always want to know whether or not they are doing a good job. This workshop will help you know that you ARE!
Photo credit: Karpati Gabor|MorgueFile.com