Children / Fatherhood / Images / Masculinity / Men

Father Tying Daughter’s Shoe, Moullie Point Children’s Park, Cape Town, South Africa, Saturday March 09, 2013.

Father tying daughter's shoe, Moullie Point Children's Park, Cape Town, SA, Sat March 09, 2013It’s in the little things, ja? That’s what caring is about. When you are done making the money or acting all manly, this is the stuff that defines their internal life, and ours. What defines what kind of uncaring or caring person they turn out to be.
It’s taking time to play with your daughter or son.
It’s learning that time IS subjective and getting to enjoy a different rhythm. Slow down will you.
It’s wiping snot, disinfecting and putting plaster on a wound, kissing each other goodnight. How can such a simple thing as hearing ‘Goodnight dad’ be so enjoyable!
It’s reading a story to them. Aren’t they powerful, stories? Black men and women, we need to write stories for the new world. We need new pictures to show the culture that is possible when we turn to solidarity, love, and what we can be; when let go of our pain, and fears, and rage (although there is much that enrages), and memories of humiliation, and thought rigidities, and shame. Children’s yearning for stories and representations of what is possible – they remind us what we may have lost, true, but they also remind us of what we can be.
It’s the feeding time.
And bath time.
And going for the shots at the clinic.
And teaching about using the big boy/girl potty.
It’s talking, and talking, and talking, and even better, learning to hear again, hear them learn to talk, to tell a story, and and helping them to make meaning of things.
It’s trusting. How do you trust in such a society? But how do you not trust?
That’s what this whole thing is about when all is said and done: a father tying a daughter’s shoe.

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