Future Fathers – 2

Fatherhood seems to be the theme for this week, after my Electra-Oedipus discussion last week. After observing the behaviour of emperor penguins, I now discover that fish exhibit loving paternal behaviour as well. Today’s fact tells us that:

“A father sea catfish keeps the eggs of his young in his mouth until they are ready to hatch. He will not eat until his young are born, which may take several weeks.”

Brad retorts to my earlier post with:

“For a male penguin, it is normal basic instinct to share parental responsibility. And basic instinct precedes their lower (relative to humans) intelligence.

When it comes to the male species of humans, most males use their intelligence to be less-caring, lazy, irresponsible, egoistic, chauvinistic and other not-so-fine virtues. Intelligence, after all, is a neutral capacity of thought and reason, and works both ways, for good or for bad.”

The assumption here is that intelligence leads to the ability to monitor and control emotions. Personally I always thought the two of these were seperate. Intelligence only gives you an egoistic sense of control and maybe you do manage to control your behaviour well. But what you feel is just what you feel, isn’t it (even if you don’t act on it)?

I’m sparking off an age-old question of whether men care as much as women do. As my last post muses, perhaps a man is capable of being as good a parent as a mother is, in a different way. I just find it difficult to actually visualize that happening…..not about men being good fathers (I’ve said this after all), but today’s men being capable of deep emotion for any human being but themselves.

I have to add that I saw an ad on TV yesterday that really touched me deep down. It was for a digicam (I think!) showing a father running up and just missing the sight of his baby’s first steps on the beach. Later that evening sees him sitting broodily till wifey calls him in to see the moment captured for posterity on film. The ad ends with the father proudly re-running the clip all night to watch his tot take her first steps.

Yes, very cute. So are today’s men only capable of caring for a human being they’ve helped create? I’m apt to think that even this so fashionable trend now of being a good dad is just a by-product of the media hyped sensitive, metrosexual man. I mean…it just goes so well with the ‘Complete Man’ image, doesn’t it? It’s fashionable to cootchie-coo over the little one so they do. But is it an inherent feeling? Ah, but I’m just an old cynic. Prove me wrong.

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About IdeaSmith

IdeaSmith is the digital doppelganger of Ramya Pandyan (intrepid train-traveller and frequent spouter of post-midnight rhymes and rants). As IdeaSmith she battles obscurity and slays boredom with her stories about men, books, digitalia and Mumbai. She performs live and also blogs, tweets, Instagrams, Facebooks, +G’s, Youtubes and Goodreads all as IdeaSmith. Ramya is a blogger, digital storyteller and spoken word performer. She also runs a forum for aspiring writers called Alphabet Sambar. Tweet-bomb her at @ideasmithy.

Posted on May 9, 2007, in Battle of the sexes, Relationships, Seriously speaking, Times, they are a-changing, XXFactor series and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Come by the place where I volunteer in summers. There is only one male volunteer, and all he does is take care of 35 lil kids. And he’s taken a leave from his job for the fortnight for it. And when he did volunteer, he had no idea he would latch on to the kids that way. Some men do have an inherent paternal capacity. And most women have an inherent maternal capacity.

    The difference lies in the ‘some’ and the ‘most’.

  2. ha! you think father penguins and father catfish are good- what about the father sea horse… now THAT’s one progessive male *sigh*

  3. Guys prefer to hold back on their emotions. They are emotionally very shy. Call it genes, society, whatever.

    That does not mean that they can’t be good parents.

    Are you telling me that a good father is one who always holds the baby in the arms, kisses and cuddles the baby, and express every emotion explicitly?

    So being expressive is being a good father?

    The baby is going to be hyper sensitive human equivalent to a mix of Shahrukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor – with “too many emotions” shown in the face.

    Don’t you think a bit self constraint in showing your expressions is worth in a parent?

    By the way, over expressive women have a very high percantage of selfish people to – of the same category as the cold men mentioned above.

  4. @ alazyguy: Point taken. However human beings do need tangible expressions of love – words, actions, physical intimacy….this is something even the psychologists recommend because it is healthy.

    Overexpression is something else altogether. I’m totally put off by excessive displays of emotion, melodrama and *shudder* people who cry at the drop of a hat. Cold people (male or female) are equally bad, I agree.

  5. Most Dad cannot give their kids the emotional support which is really needed . This is evident by the rise in alcoholism ,the riots in London etc.

    Totally agree with “The difference lies in the ‘some’ and the ‘most’.” .Sadly the co-dependence syndorm woman in india (and less else where) suffer make it difficult for them to take corrective action

  6. I disagree, I think some men are definitely able to love and nurture a child just as much as a mother does, and equally some mothers are not as nurturing as some dads.
    In my own experience, my ex hubby was not able to cope with caring for kids as a full time father. My partner, however, shows no differentiation between my older 2 kids and our new baby. All 3 kids see him as their “everyday dad” tho the older 2 see their father and have a good relationship. The interesting addendum to this is my ex & my new man get on well, respect each other, and my ex will gladly include the new child when he sees the older 2. It’s a blended modern family at its best.

  7. Also just to add, kids need to see love to be able to love. This means they must experience love from a parent or carer, but they also need to see a healthy loving relationship in parents or carers, and the more carers to show them love, the better their self esteem will be, specifially a father or mother isn’t necessary, I know perfectly happy adult kids with gay parents, or brought up by grandparents.
    My own partner is loving and affectionate with all 3, taking his lead from them, so he carries the baby in slings whenever he can, changes nappies, he cuddles & comforts the 4yo, and spends time chatting with the 9yo & taught her to ride a bike, plays kickabout with her. Basically, he’s interested in spending time with them, and that is so much bigger than words, gifts or money.

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