That’s All I Want to Say

Dad, you are important; make your presence count.

Just in case you were unaware, International Women’s Day was held on Friday, 8 March 2024.

I’m not a big fan of it; in fact, I have a pretty negative attitude towards IWD, due to its feminist roots.

In light of this, I thought it appropriate for me, a woman, to write this week’s editorial. Our readership gets to hear from Warwick or Nathaniel Marsh every week of the year, so why not hear from the third, and just as important, female member of the team.

I had several interactions that week which affected me profoundly, that I would like to share briefly with you.

In the light of it being my 69th birthday sometime in the next few weeks, I have cause for reflection, and a consideration of all things ‘important’.

Firstly, Warwick and I attended Barry Williams’ — founder of Lone Fathers Association — funeral on Wednesday, 6 March. Held in Canberra, it was a full day’s trip for us, but well worth the effort. Everything that was said about Barry Williams and the amazing work that he has done over 50 years was both positive and awe-inspiring. See Warwick’s tribute to him here.

Secondly, I had a brief interaction with a young man who works at our local service station. I have been impressed with his customer care. While getting a coffee one day, I asked what he had done on his day off the day before.  In short, his reply was that he had hung out with his kids.

As co-founder of Dads4Kids, I am always on the lookout for anything dad-related, so I asked how many children he had. “Three and another on the way,” he said proudly. That was not to mention his partner’s two teenage children, whom he obviously felt some responsibility for as well. A shout-out to this great Dad!

Thirdly, I was impacted by Kurt Mahlburg’s piece last week. He quoted professor and researcher Jenet Erickson from her article ‘Why Moms and Dads Both Matter in Marriage’:

Mothers do not father, and fathers do not mother. Each emerges as a unique source of distinct and critical nurturing in the development of children. Indeed, evidence of these distinct contributions confirms a long-assumed proposition: namely, that the direct, continual involvement of both a mother and a father in the home is ideal for the childs development.

How true is that? Ideally, children need a mother AND a father in their lives. Have another read of Kurt’s article to realise just how important you are!

Fourthly, I was deeply affected by a movie review of The Zone of Interest by James Macpherson. This movie is about the greatest organised mass murder in human history, portrayed in a very alarming way. The review reduced me to tears as I believe we are currently witnessing similar attitudes of denial to what is going on around us.

Raphael Abraham of the Financial Times wrote that the writer, director and co-producer of The Zone of Interest “had achieved something much greater than just making the monstrous mundane — by rendering such extreme inhumanity ordinary, he reawakens us to its true horror”.

Yet, to my chagrin, we fail to see, hear and speak.

Finally, and more encouragingly, I had a phone call last Friday from Bradley.

Bradley simply wanted to call Dads4Kids and thank us for the adverts we make every year. They have been an encouragement to him.

Over the past ten years, as a single dad, Bradley has raised three children without support or contact from their mother. He wanted to appreciate the work that we do.

I asked the ages of his children and was quite astounded to hear that his:

  • Eldest child is studying medicine at university.
  • Middle child has just started university.
  • Youngest child is in year 10.

That was when I heard a catch in Bradley’s throat. “That’s all I wanted to say,” he stated, and that was the end of the conversation. Again, what an inspiring dad!


Dads, you are important in the lives of your children.

Whether you have contact with them or not, you are important.

Make your presence count.

See what your children are up to, listen to what they are going through, and speak words of encouragement to them.

Do all you can to fulfil your role as a dad in their lives.

If you don’t, who will?

Find ways to let them know how you feel about them, how much you love them and how proud you are of them.

Find ways to be the best Dad you can be for the children you created.

You can make a difference!

Alison Marsh

PS: Find International Men’s Day info here.

The Men’s Leadership Summit, to be held 9-11 August, has extended its Early Bird rates until Sunday, 31 March. You can register here. Group discounts are available.

Sign up for the next Courageous Online Fathering Course (starting 30 April) here.


Originally published at Dads4Kids. Photo by Anna Shvets.

By |2024-03-20T21:07:57+10:00March 18th, 2024|Children, Dads, Families|0 Comments

About the Author:

Alison Marsh has been married to Warwick Marsh since 1975. They have five children and nine grandchildren. The Marshes live in Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia.

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