Last updated on January 30th, 2021 at 03:05 am
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Family’s a funny thing. We don’t choose the families we’re born into, yet in many cases, we learn to love them for the people they are and forge our bonds over time. And then you have the families we create ourselves, learning to love them in an entirely new way as we grow old with significant others and raise children to become the adults we dream they can become.
But what about everyone else? What about the people who enter our lives, making us better than we were before we met them, regardless of how closely blood relates us? It could be anyone—grandfathers, uncles, teachers or coaches—this Father’s Day, Dove Men+Care want to celebrate the other men who play pivotal roles in our lives, their deeds too often unsung. And with that in mind, let me introduce you to a man named Paul.
Paul Burns, the Man Who Changed My Life.
Paul’s my boss. My boss for the third time now. He stepped into my life back in 2009, doing me a solid when things could’ve gone a very different way.
Early in my life as a bureaucrat, I saw things very differently, and once took a gamble on a job in pursuit of higher wages. It worked out well for a while as I learned to do the job, but my personality clashes with management soon made themselves known—six months in, I found myself unemployed, wondering where it all went wrong.
The Story of the One and Only Time I Found Myself Without Work.
That was one of the darker periods in my life. For someone who’d worked steadily since 14, suddenly being without work shortly before 26 felt like I’d messed it all up. Like I’d messed my life plan up completely—that I couldn’t come back from something this bad.
After a couple months of “funemployment”, I was willing to take just about anything to get back on track, and almost did. A 3-month probationary junior position based on the strength of a lacklustre reference that felt more character assassination than fact. A job in an office notorious for blindly following rules no questions asked and showing nary a glimpse of personality, for fear it’d be stomped into the ground. It was by no means the job for me, but it was a job, and that’s what I needed right then.
But Paul wouldn’t hear anything of it. He got me back on my feet with a senior role that made me marketable again. And over the years, I’d learn lots from working with him! How to express oneself musically as a singer for his band The Calamities for several years. How to manage a team that feels more like a family than people who simply work together. Or even how you still face the world with a smile, even when it doesn’t agree with you. I’ve worked 15 roles across eight offices this last decade, so I know a thing or two about different management styles—there’s a reason why I’ve kept working for Paul. And I hope he knows how much I appreciate him and everything he’s done for me.
“There to Care”—Dove Men+Care and Their Search for Atypical Father Figures
Now my story is by no means unique. Of the 1.5M lone-parent families we have in Canada, only 330,000 of those parents are Dads. That’s a staggering number of kids out there growing up without a traditional father figure at home! With an ever-evolving family dynamic around us, it means we need all sorts of people who are there to care, and Dove Men+Care wants to touch on that with their new Father’s Day film, “There to Care”.
They’re looking to change the paradigm. More now than ever, men see caring as a sign of strength. Men are realising we need to be on top of our game so we can take care of others. But only 7% of us feel like we can relate to male depictions in media?! Something has got to change.
“There to Care” by Dove Men+Care uses home videos from four real, modern families to show how father figures can go above and beyond to show extraordinary care for others. It’s time we think differently about the meaning of “family”—it takes a village to raise a child, so we’d better stop shutting the village out!
“There to Care”—Because We Can Care for Others Even When They’re NOT Our Children.
We’re in an age where authenticity matters more than ever. If we’re not representing modern masculinity—and all its varied facets—as authentically as possible, how can we expect to raise children capable of modern thinking in the yesteryear? While I enjoy my praise and platitudes for being a “good father” (or if you ask me, just doing my job), I think it’s high time we recognise that families don’t look like just one thing. Let’s give everyone who cares all the respect they’re due.
Have a good one, y’all, and let’s not forget all the men who’ve made a difference in our lives!
Until the next,
Disclaimer: Dove Canada compensated for this post, but all opinions remain my own.