Why Father Figures and Male Mentors Matter?
A mother’s role in a child’s life has always been widely celebrated, while discussion on a father’s role often takes a back seat.
Even though a father’s role is not as widely known or talked about, fathers are just as equally important.
The reality of today’s society is that not every child has a complete family. Many of them experience their father’s absence, due to various reasons, and this can be very painful for them (E.g. Feeling of abandonment, that they are not good enough, shame).
What can help them become stronger, despite this gap or absence, is to provide a consistent and good father figure in their lives.
What constitutes a father figure?
This can include the following:
· Biological or Stepfather
· Other adult male figures such as grandfather, uncle, teacher, coach, or a mentor
Is having a father figure present enough?
Simply being present is not enough. The person will need to be consistent in showing up, be engaged, and show care and warmth towards the child.
The main idea is for each interaction to be of high quality.
How does having a father figure make a difference for a child?
A mother figure is generally more nurturing, comforting, and protective, which tends to the emotional aspects of a child.
On the other hand, a father figure contributes to other developments in the following ways :
– Males are often stronger, louder, and they play rougher. This encourages the child to develop more self-confidence, be bolder, and take more risks.
– Males also have different communication styles and use different languages. For example, the child will learn to ask for clarifications, give clear explanations and references to experiences and events, find solutions and problem solve.
Especially for boys :
– Children model after adults easily and when there is a good father figure in their lives who treat others respectfully, they learn to do the same.
– What we love most is that children grow to be more compassionate adults when they have good father figures in their lives. In a *study, researchers have found that the determining factor in developing empathy in children was having father figure involvement.
How does Life Community come into the picture?
We match a child with an adult mentor to help provide a consistent adult figure in his/her life. Many of them come from vulnerable backgrounds and may not have the privilege of parents who are present and engaged in their lives.
We also do gender matching to ensure safety for the children under our care. (i.e. Female mentor with a female mentee, Male mentor with a male mentee)
We are currently looking for male mentors for a group of boys who are experiencing their father’s absence. We have seen that having an adult mentor to journey with them can help ease their confusion and hurt, and put them on the right path as they enter adulthood.
I would like to be a male mentor, but I’m worried I can’t do it!
It might sound like a big responsibility, but what is needed more importantly is time, consistency, care, warmth, and the desire to inspire, motivate, and help a younger life become stronger.
The focus is not to replace the father figure or fill the hole left by absent fathers in their lives, but to be a good adult male role model where they can turn to for guidance and care.
Below are some things you can do, and we will be sharing more on this in the coming weeks:
– Set aside time to check in regularly (E.g. Asking about his day)
– Plan and do activities together (E.g. Sports, activities, drawing)
The positive impact of a good mentoring relationship with a trusted adult can be exponential for a child – Their attitudes, grades and social relationships improve, and often they will pay it forward with the community and become mentors themselves when they are adults.
We are looking for male mentors! Click here now to find out more. Training is provided so you are empowered to empower another. Help us build up a strong generation of men for tomorrow.
If you like to give and help our children break out of their existing circumstances, please click here. A little goes a long way in creating brighter tomorrows for our young ones 😊
1. *Richard Koestner, et al., “The Family Origins of Empathic Concern: A Twenty-Six Year Longitudinal Study,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 58 (1990): 709-717
2. Significance of a father’s influence, Focus on the family, 2011, https://www.focusonthefamily.com/family-qa/the-significance-of-a-fathers-influence