One of the best reads of last week was on a topic not frequently discussed. The human dad. While most of our discussions and concerns revolve around mother and motherhood, Anna Machin has written a long piece on the marvel of the human dad and let me introduce that to you in this post. Why the human dad is very special? What is so unique about him? The primary reason for curiosity is that while motherhood is universal, the number of species for whom father hang around with child and mother is very few . It is estimated that it happens only in the case of 5% of mammals. Among the big apes, only the human dad invest his time for his child. It was this uniqueness which attracted Anna towards this topic. It is very important that we understand this phenomenon to appreciate the role of the father in bringing up the child.
To begin with, what were the most important factors which made the human dad
Apart from this caring angle , Anna observes another important feature. That is the role of father in teaching certain essential skills to the children. During adolescent period children pick up many skills from fathers ( this was particularly relevant in the hunter gatherer society where every father had to necessarily teach his boys skills needed to get the food for survival) .
The research on the peculiar roles of father throws many interesting results. The dad was not evolved to be a mirror image of mother. He is not a male mother. On the other hand , the father’s role is to compliment that of mother’s. Researchers also observed differences in the brain activity of father and mother when they watched videos of their children. The mother -child attachment and father –child attachment also works in different planes. If the mother –child attachment works as exclusive and inward looking based on affection and care , the father-child relationship faces outward. Of course , in the changed scenario where the traditional roles of mother and father are undergoing rapid changes , there is bound to be variations in some of the findings. Our families are becoming smaller and single parent families are on the rise. The status of women in the workplace is also getting redefined.
One wish of Anna while closing her essay is very significant. There is a need for fathers to be more involved with their children. When father and mother play an almost equal role in the domestic front , it sends a powerful message to all sons of today. If mothers used to bear major burden of child rearing in the earlier days , it is going to change and both will have to share the responsibility. As children increasingly face increased social tensions , it is very important that both parents step in to prepare the child for the new challenges. At the same time, father and mother needs to be aware that there are specific skill sets each one is expected to hand over to their child.
While I encourage my readers to have a closer look at this interesting essay from Anna Machin, it will be really worthwhile if we also think deeply on the role of our father in our lives. Most of us remain more intimately connected with our mothers and many fathers do not develop an emotional attachment with their children. But I am sure that many of you will have a hundred tales of intimate relationships with dads . However, as I was reading the essay, I was thinking that perhaps fathers need to be understood more carefully. How we are connected to him? What skills we have picked up him? Do we observe him sufficiently?How much is our freedom with him? If you are away from home how much you miss him ? Before thinking all these , you can give a big hug to him ( if he is near ) after reading this essay( link below) on all human dads.