Last month I wrote a post called “Paving the Way for Fathers to Find Their Purpose” where I shared how fathers and mothers often view their roles or purpose so differently. Mom sees her purpose as the nurturer and being with her children, and dad sees his purpose as a provider or paycheck.
For this post, like the word purpose, let’s consider the word prerogative as it pertains to fathers. Defined by Miriam Webster, prerogative is: an exclusive or special right, power, or privilege.
As Bobby Brown once sang, "I don't need permission / Make my own decisions / That's my prerogative." In other words, a prerogative is a right and it implies a choice.
A near synonym to prerogative is “privilege”, a word that has been in the news a lot lately. Fathers’ ‘rights’ is also a hotly debated topic. But if you take a different view of those words in the realm of fatherhood and the fathers you work with, you can use those words in a different way to help fathers recognize the exclusive privilege they have in their role as a father. And, that if they choose it, they have the power and right to that role.
Many fathers have made choices and taken actions that have derailed them from their true purpose. Others continue to face obstacles because of those choices. Unfortunately, some just give up. But, as C.S. Lewis said in one of my favorite quotes, “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”
If being an involved, responsible, and committed father is their prerogative (choice) they have the power to change the trajectory of theirs and their child’s life (and even the life of the mother of their child). There are no politics or color associated with this idea. Fathers who understand their purpose and role, and who work collectively with the other parent, can create a next generation with privilege. Their child experiences the privilege of having two people collectively work together to ensure the best outcomes for the next generation.
As I shared in the post on purpose, successful organizations recognize the differences in dads and moms and combine supports with other interventions. For example, workforce related services along with evidence-based programs like NFI’s 24/7 Dad® or InsideOut Dad® that require dads to look within, reflect, and acquire the knowledge, tools, and skills to be the best father and partner they can be. Moms can benefit from resources like Mom As Gateway Booster™ and Understanding Dad ™.
So, while fathers providing for their children is certainly important, understanding their unique role and gaining the knowledge and skills to be great fathers can transform and impact generations to come with the same prerogatives.
After all, as practitioners, isn’t that our prerogative?
For more information on this topic, read Privilege of Parenting from University of Arkansas Family & Consumer Sciences.
My next post will be about a Promise. The Pledge.