Australia is the best country in the world. I know that Alison and I are biased, but we say that every time we come home from an overseas trip, and it gets truer every time. We had an exciting journey as we met with family and fatherhood leaders in the USA, Europe and Asia.
I have visited nineteen countries as an adult, and eight more as a child. Nothing has given me a reason to change my mind about my belief that Australia is the best country in the world.
And I’m not the only one who thinks so. The OCED ranked its top 34 member nations with Australia at Number 1, followed by Norway at Number 2, then Canada, Sweden and USA at Number 5.
Yes, there are more beautiful countries and there are some richer countries, but when you put it all together: climate, natural beauty, prosperity, employment, personal freedom, education, public health system, long life expectancy, accessibility to services, housing, good government, integrity, taxation, civic engagement, freedom of speech, security and safety, Australia is a great place to raise a family.
I once met an Indian man who had travelled the world with his family as a hotel executive. From memory, he had been to over 60 countries and worked in most of the major, well known countries. He had deliberately settled his family in Australia. When I asked him why, he simply replied, “Australia is the best country in the world to raise a family because it still values family and family relationships highly.”
I agree with my Indian friend that Australia is the best place to raise a family because firstly it is the best country in the world to live. Better health, safety, stability and prosperity tend to make it a better place to bring up children.
Secondly, because Australia has not yet been taken over by political correctness. Girls are girls and boys are boys, not like Sweden where gender bending has become an obsession.
John Gray, author of the ‘Men are from Mars – Women are from Venus’ series proved the obvious by selling over 50 million copies of his series of books in spite of constant criticism by academics. The critics asserted that gender is and was a social construct. If that is case there would only be one category of sport for the Olympic Games. Now that would be very unfair because men would win all the gold medals. So we have a female and a male category so the medals can be divided equally. Men and women are different. The differences are wonderful and should be celebrated not androgenised.
Thankfully in Australia most people have not succumbed to the group-think surrounding gender to which so many other western countries have succumbed.
The good news is that all around the world younger fathers are becoming more hands on and involved when compared to the preceding generation. I have observed this personally in the USA, France, Italy, Israel and Singapore.
In Singapore we had the privilege of visiting the Centre for Fathering which has just moved to new premises. I visited them in their previous building about five years ago. This organisation is going ahead in leaps and bounds.
The Centre for Fathering now has an indoor adventure area with rope swings where a father guides his blindfolded child through the rope course from the sidelines (safety harnessed of course). This is not only a test of patience, but as the program executive Danny Teo said, this is a test for the role that fathers must play in raising their children. In the Blind Tunnel, the roles are reversed and the child has to lead his/her dad through a pitch black maze and into the light. Again a metaphor: not only do we as fathers rescue and lead our children, but in many cases, they rescue us.
The Singapore Centre for Fathering’s vision is to turn the hearts of the children towards their fathers by empowering more fathers to be better role models and an enduring inspiration to their children.
People often ask me how things are going in the ‘fatherhood movement’. My reply is usually the same, “It is the best of times and the worst of times for fatherhood. We face many challenges as fathers, our own apathy being first and foremost.” As the man said, “I have met the enemy and the enemy is us”. The rise of the gender deconstruction movement and the increasing levels of politically correct anti-child madness in parliaments around the world is giving us great cause for concern.
The good news is that common sense is still holding on in many people and many sectors of society. Many nations around the world are realising the importance of supporting good fathering policies. Thankfully most of the madness is isolated to the western world. The Centre for Fathering in Singapore is breaking new ground and showing Australia and Asia the way forward. Hopefully we can learn from them.
The Mission Statement at the Centre for Fathering, Singapore says:
We believe every child needs a dad they can count on. The research is clear: children thrive when they have an involved father – someone who loves them, knows them, guides them and helps them achieve their destiny.
Our mission this week is for us all to be that someone.