Especially for Dads:
Hey Dads! And non-Dads. I've been wanting to talk to you on this subject for a while, so the pandemic has really motivated me to extract the thoughts that have been whizzing around my head and lay them at your feet (well, eyes).
I know it seems sexist and exclusionary to make this page especially for Dads, but anyone is more than welcome to read this page, and I hope whoever does take the time, feels that they gained something from it. Or if you know someone who would gain something from it, please share.
Please forgive me if you feel excluded from this page, while also feeling the information is appropriate to you and not especially for Dads. You may understand my 1950's thinking as you continue to read.
Let me preface the rest of the page by saying I am well aware that in 2020 families, financial responsibilities are shared. There are also families for whom the financial responsibility falls to a woman/women. This page is for you too.
Dads are a special breed.
No matter how mankind advances, they will always see themselves as the protector. Its a genetic thing.
You may be the hippest Dad out there, in a relationship with a high-powered, extremely self-sufficient partner who may financially support the family. You may be the support person who looks after the home and family while your partner brings home the bacon, but somewhere (possibly buried deep within your psyche) is the feeling that you are responsible for your family.
If you are a "traditional" Dad, and your partner earns less income than you, that responsible feeling increases many-fold. As part of your responsibility, you also feel protecting your family is paramount, which is great - families need protecting. Most females also like to feel protected - those genes have made us a perfect match! Even the most independent females have been known to call for help when huge spiders have the gall to appear on their radar!
Some dads become extremely focused on the "providing" part of their responsibility. Nothing wrong with that - families are expensive, and if he can provide them with a good lifestyle, presumably they'll be happy.
It can become unhealthy though, if the dad focuses so much on providing financially that he forgets to allocate time and energy to looking after himself, or overlooks the value he represents to his family in other ways. Some dads have been brought up to believe that their sole job is to provide materially for the family, when actually, their soul job is to nurture and teach in so many other ways.
Dads need to be present, to care for their families in non-materialistic ways and to teach and set examples. It can be very difficult for a dad to see this, particularly if his partner and/or offspring are quite materialistic.
This is where communication is another important factor in being a dad. Kids need to be taught that "keeping up with the Jones's" is not a healthy sport, and Dads need to be strong enough to resist the temptation to get sucked into that game to keep someone else happy, at the expense of their own happiness. This page on money and happiness might help with perspective.
Well, Coronavirus is going to have a huge global economic impact. We don't yet know what that will look like, but many people and families are going to be (and already have been) severely impacted financially.
Statistically, men don't cope well with a sudden loss of assets. Suicide statistics are very high among men who have experienced a sudden decline in their economic health.
The sad fact is, some Dads think they are worthless if they suffer a financial loss. They feel they have failed as a Dad if, for example, the family home needs to be sold, or other economic hardships befall the family.
If you are a Dad, this is when you can be of most value to your family. Your family need to see your courage and strength at a time when everything is so uncertain. If you have sons this can be the greatest lesson they ever learn about being a man. If you have daughters this is your opportunity to protect, reassure and show by example leadership, courage, resourcefulness and strength. This is your opportunity to show your children how to negotiate tough times when you don't know how things will change from one minute to the next. It's an opportunity to teach them that a roof over your head (no matter who owns it) food in your belly and each other to love are all that is important.
Dads, please know that however badly your financial health may be affected by this pandemic, you are still valued and needed by your family.
You are not your checkbook! You are the strong, slightly goofy, example to your children of how to live life. They will long remember your shining courage as you negotiate this time in their history. Yes, their hearts will break if they lose some stuff, but they'll get over that in days. When they look back on this time through adult eyes you will be a beacon, a leader and a legend who kept the family together with hope through the dark times and marched them all on toward the light. You will be the hero they speak of to their children.
Now is the time, especially for Dads, to value all of the things you are and can be to your family - and they are limitless.
Your children - no matter how old - are watching and learning.
Teach them well.