RAY COLLINS: Father's Day

When my eldest son was at University he was asked by one of his former teachers to illustrate a book that he was writing on raising boys.

The cartoons that ensued were a reflection on our father-son relationship spanning his childhood but did not always demonstrate good parenting practices. One in particular depicted father and son on a shopping spree with the father enthusiastically testing out all the latest sporting equipment and encouraging his son to join him whilst the son steadfastly resisted, tightly clutching an electric guitar. So much for sharing similar interests!

Fortunately our father-son relationship was and continues to be a very close one and we both have wonderful memories of his development into a young man.

Joe is now the father of two boys and amidst all the joys that parenthood and being a grandparent bring there is little that compares with observing your own children carrying out their own parenting roles.

This became obvious to me on the weekend when two of our children brought their own children to our home to celebrate Fathers’ Day. I recalled sharing Father’s Day with my children and their respective Grandfathers over the years and hoped that both Grandfathers experienced the same joy that I have felt witnessing the fine job that my children are doing with their families. It certainly gives a new dimension to your life, where, somewhat removed from the direct raising of this new generation, you still get to share in the joys that only young children can bring to your life.

Being a father has many challenges and we do not always get it right but good intentions and love often overcome many obstacles and repair any unintentional harm. In my case I often reflect on the importance of my father in my life and on how I fulfilled the role of father to my four children. I recall how much I learnt from my father about faith, honesty, service and integrity and endeavoured to instil those values in my own children.

Parenting is such a demanding yet enormously rewarding role. Overseeing the development of young children in order to prepare them for life is a great privilege and hopefully our parenting reports contain more positives than negatives when reflected upon by fathers and their children.

To the fathers in our school communities, I wish you all a very happy Father’s Day.

Ray Collins Image
Ray Collins

Ray Collins is the Director of Schools within the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. He is an authority on education issues.