Brendan Hayward is a brave young man who is again baring his soul to all my blog readers to help them understand how important they are to their children. I shared his story many years ago but good stories are worth repeating. Good stories that inspire give us all hope as fathers to “keep on keeping on” for our children and our families.
Many children take their dad for granted. In fact we are all guilty of taking those closest to us for granted, but ask a child who grew up without a dad to tell you their story and it is a different ball game altogether. You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
I’ll allow Brendan to share a little of his story with you.
There are two men that I would refer to as my father – one is obviously my biological father, and the other is my foster father, who adopted me into his family at age 11. They are two completely different men, yet both have made an immeasurable impact on my life. This is especially true of my birth father, which is a strange thing to say because I’ve never met him. . .
. . . Despite being adopted, and having a father for my teenage years, there is still a massive gap left by my father that no-one else can replace. I am constantly aware of this gap. No man (or woman) can take this place that belonged, and still belongs to my father.
What is the fundamental difference between Brendan’s two fathers?
One was a true leader and one wasn’t.
What do I mean? Let me explain by an experience I had some time ago. One of the men who coordinate the men’s group at church asked me to take part in a bush walk and then share with the men at the halfway point of a 12 kilometre hike through the bush, by a river. I thought that rather than telling them something I would ask them something. Men hate getting told what to do or believe. My question was simple. I went around the group with the simple question, “Do you believe men are leaders?” Interestingly enough they all agreed that men are leaders. My next question was, “Why are men leaders?” One said, “Because they are male.” Another said, “Because they have strength.”
I would call it the ‘biological imperative’ of responsibility.
Women are from Planet Oestrogen. Men are from Planet Testosterone. Men produce on average 10 times the amount of testosterone that women produce. Men’s metabolic rate is 10% higher than a woman’s. Men’s upper body muscle is on average 50% more than a woman’s. Men have more stamina than women and can work longer hours. This was highlighted by a debate on men and women’s pay at the National Press Club.
Sometime ago Professor Woden created a stir when he highlighted the truth behind the difference in pay between men and women’s pay at the National Press Club. He had the temerity to tell the truth about the simple fact that men work longer hours than women and thus earn more. Always have, always will. Rightly or wrongly it is just a fact. Professor Woden said that the only way of closing the 15% pay gap would require a change in the traditional family structure, “The only way to achieve this is if we have lots of role reversals, lots of men behaving like women and lots of women behaving like men.” I don’t think women in Australia want that, I don’t think that women anywhere in the world want that!
I talked with Professor Woden and he said that the 15% graduate pay gap was fictitious when the extra hours that male graduates work in their chosen careers is accounted for. Dr Warren Farrell has pointed out the same in his book, “Why Men Earn More.”
One of the guys on the walk made an interesting observation. He pointed out that the monarchy flourished in England more under queens than under kings, Queen Elizabeth II being a prime example, recognized around the world for being a wonderful leader. Saying that men are leaders, does not mean that women are not leaders. The greatest leaders are servant leaders. Maybe women understand this better than men. Many people forget that leadership and responsibility go hand in hand.
When men lead well, things go well, but when men lead badly, things can go really bad.
Brendan’s real father was a classic case of a father leading in retreat, retreat into the bottle, retreat from his first two children, retreat from his second two children and retreat from Brendan as well, so much so that Brendan never met his real father – what a tragedy!
Brendan’s second father, who began caring for Brendan when he was 11 years old, accepted the leadership responsibility of a wife and three children, plus Brendan. He was a true servant leader for his family,
‘always steady and on track . . . and complete in many ways.’
Brendan doesn’t dishonour his birth father, but he is immeasurably thankful for his adoptive father. Maybe we could all learn a lesson from Brendan!
Always remember that ‘you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.’
Make sure your children never have to discover this, cos I think they would feel the same as Brendan. Be there for your children. And lead well men.
Yours for more ‘on track’ fathers
PS We encourage you to consider ways that you might be able to help the Dads4kids Fatherhood Foundation. Don’t forget that tax time in coming up on 30th June and making a donation to the Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation is a great way to help children, and reduce your tax at the same time.