Hear from Real Men: “What Does it Mean to be a Father Today?”

June 15, 2019

Hear from Real Men: “What Does it Mean to be a Father Today?”

If you Google “What does it mean to be a father today?" there are over 2 billion search results. 2 billion! One of these is a NY Times article from 2010, discussing the ‘Evolution of Dad.’ It’s clear the definition of fatherhood has changed over time, not to mention a stark distinction between existing as a father, and actually being one.

This year, we thought we’d do it a little differently and ask 3 men from different generations what it means to them to be a father. Have to say, the answers were surprising! 

Meet Shakil, born in 1960. Father to 2 adult kids.

What does it mean to you to be a father? Being a father to me means looking after your children, and instilling a sense of values in them that you as a parent think are important. For me, that’s about being respectful to all – especially your elders. Being kind. Being caring. For all.

How has the role of a father changed? I think technology has really changed the role of a father. Because information is so readily available, you don’t need to pick up the phone and ask, “dad, is this the right choice?” You’ll probably ask Google first. Kids are surrounded by so much information and so ‘wired,’ so it’s even more important to help them understand the difference between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ values.

With my father’s generation, it was about being a financial provider. My dad would just say, "here’s the money.” My mother was supposed to raise us in all of the other ways. 

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Meet Amir, born in 1932. Father to 3 kids, 7 grandkids, and 2 great-grandkids.

What does it mean to you to be a father? It’s really difficult for me to answer a question like this. I’m just a proud father. But I know my kids rely on me for financial advice.

How has the concept of fatherhood changed since you were a kid? Fathers used to be a lot more aggressive than they are now. And yes, technology has played a big part in this change.

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Meet Tochi, born in 1983. Father to 2 toddlers. 

What does it mean to you to be a father today? The biggest thing about being a father to me is having the responsibility to guide and shape another person’s life, with a focus on making their childhood better than the one you had yourself. It is also the most rewarding but most demanding job one could ever have.

How has the role of a father changed? I grew up in a very traditional African household where the role of the father is far less active in terms of daily life. The role of my father was to provide financially and be a role model.

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No matter what your relationship is with fatherhood, it's clear there's so much nuance and evolution in the way the role has developed. Happy Father's Day 2019! If you're a bit late on gifting, you can check our unique guide here.



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