How to Be a Good Father


Do you have a good father? Adam Navis and Liz Waid look at what it means to be a good father. Can a person become a better father?

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Transcript


Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Adam Navis.

Voice 2  

And I’m Liz Waid. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1  

Jean Marie Rukundo lives in Rwanda. NPR wrote about his story. He is a farmer. His wife also helps with this work. After work, Rukundo likes to play card games with other men in the village. But his wife goes home. She collects wood for the family’s fire and gets clean water for the family to drink. She cooks and cleans. And she also takes care of their children. This situation is normal in Rwanda. Many men do not help with work at home or with children.

Voice 2  

But all this changed for Rukundo. He was part of program called MenCare. MenCare is a five month education program in Rwanda. It teaches men about being a parent, having a baby, and how married people can talk about important choices together. After the program, Rukundo began to talk to his wife more. They talked about money. He began to help her with work around the house. He even took her to the health clinic when she was ready to give birth to their third child. Some people mocked Rukundo for these changes. But he believes he is becoming a better father. Other men around the world are also making these kinds of changes. Today’s Spotlight is on what it means to be a good father.

Voice 1  

Around the world, there are many different ways to be a father. For example, in China, fathers are expected to work a lot. They are expected to make money and provide for their family. But this does not mean they control money. Andrew Norrie teaches English in China. He sees many parents there divide parenting jobs. He wrote for the website fatherandchild.org,

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“Both parents take an active part in playing with their children. But the work of raising the child is done by the mother. The main job of the urban Chinese father is to earn money to support the family. But many Chinese men give most of their money to their wives. Many people there consider women to be far better at managing money than men.”

Voice 2  

There are many stereotypes around the world about what mothers and fathers should do. Stereotypes are beliefs many people have about a particular person or thing. For example, one stereotype is that men are expected to work and to make money. Women are expected to stay home and raise children. Fathers play sport. Mothers do art projects. Fathers punish a child when he does something wrong. Mothers hold a child when he feels big emotions. And for some families, this is how their family works best. But these ideas can also hurt fathers, mothers, and children.

Voice 1  

Some men do not fit the common idea of what it means to be a father. There are fathers who do not like sport. Some fathers love to cook and clean. Some fathers want to stay home and raise their children. They are happy if their wife wants to work and make money. This can be difficult in cultures where this is not what is expected of fathers.

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Michael Ascher and Robert Garfield are doctors. They help families to understand how to be strong and healthy. They wrote about how difficult it can be for a father to break free of some of these stereotypes. They wrote for the Huffington Post:

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“The problem is that many men continue to operate under an unwritten set of social rules - a kind of Male Code. This code says that being a man means not showing emotion, being silent and being strong. Traditionally, these rules gave men positions of freedom, honor and power. However, they can hurt a man’s health and relationships. This is particularly true in parenting their children.”

Voice 1  

Other men may like a traditional idea of being a father. But they want to be a better father. And they do not know how to change. This is why groups like MenCare exist. They help teach men what it means to be a good father. Yet, with all the different cultures around the world, is it possible to agree to what it means to be a good father?

Voice 2  

The Rwanda Men’s Resource Center works to help men understand what it means to be a good man and a good father. This organization believes that all fathers should be loving and caring. Fathers should not use violence to solve problems. Fathers should listen to their children and partners. Good fathers do not hurt or blame other people for their problems. Good fathers do not need to control everything. Good fathers show good physical touch to their children and partner. But can someone learn to be a better father?

Voice 1  

Innocent Rwambaranya and his wife Goreth Mukabatsinda did not have a good marriage. Mukabatsinda explained to the Men’s Resource Center,

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“My life was at risk and I could not be happy at all. I was stressed by my husband along with all my married life. My husband was a drunkard and could not help me in any work around the house.”

Voice 2  

But Rwambaranya attended training by the Center. He learned how men and women need to work together. He learned how his idea of a father hurt his family and even himself. This training changed him. He came home and began to help Mukabasinda with work at home. She explained,

Voice 5  

“He started making our bed all on his own. I got surprised when I saw him do this. It was the first time I saw him make the bed since we got married. Now I am a happy wife. I breastfeed and wash the baby, but my husband dresses him. This lets me meet other people. I can express my ideas at home. He looks after the children even when I am gone. Also, he no longer drinks alcohol like before.”

Voice 1  

Any man can be a better father. But he has to want to be better. It can take work. And a father can show love in many ways. Every father can be kind. Every father can listen to their partner and children. And a good father never uses violence.

Voice 2  

Do you have a good father? Do you think you are a good father? What makes a good father? Tell us what you think. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment on Facebook at Facebook.com/spotlightradio.

Voice 1  

The writer of this program was Adam Navis. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘How to Be a Good Father’.

Voice 2  

Visit our website to download our free official app for Android or Apple devices. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

What do you think makes a man a good father? Do you know any good fathers?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
hayalperest44
said on March 11, 2019

Hello. My father is an alcoholic. But despite this I love my father. Because he is my father. I support him in quitting alcohol, but I think he doesn’t want quitting alcohol. I don’t know what to do. Despite this he is a good father for me. I love him.

Avatar Spotlight
Nissy
said on March 11, 2019

The definition of a good father for me is:
1. That my wife can use her free time to build her rich life
2. Being able to cooperate so that the future of our children will be richer
3. I myself can not live anywhere in society

Avatar Spotlight
Honneur
said on March 13, 2019

A good father teaches his sons and daughteres how to live with other people with respect. He must teaches how a person builds a zone of respect around him in a double way. If you respect you must be respected. A good father also teaches his children sports and survivelance in the enviroment and how to behave in face of violence. A good father participate in his children’s school life and try to be their best friend.
No I hadn’t a good father but I did the best I could to be a good father…