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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 4 (July 1, 1935.)

What (and why) is a Father?

What (and why) is a Father?

First of all, what is a father? Is he just a mother's husband, or is he an entity in whose bosom there surges the fierce protective instinct of fatherhood? Do fathers fight for their young with that primeval ferocity attributed to mothers? We doubt it. The only primeval ferocity they register is when Willie kicks his football through the bathroom window. Do fathers “organise” to make themselves better fathers? Do we hear of Fathers' Guilds, Fathers' Day, or Fathers' Meetings? We do not. Any such meetings are conducted in the secret sanctums of lodges, social clubs, bars, and suchlike haunts of fatherhood, where the happy cries of little children are never heard. All of which seems to indicate that the chief aim of fathers is to forget for a few fleeting hours that they have been called to the solemn state of fatherhood. Taking everything into consideration, it seems clear that fathers are made, not born.

Do biologists, sociologists or apologists ever refer to our bounding young bachelors as “the nation's future fatherhood”? Is it ever said that in them as the fathers of posterity, reposes the sacred responsibility of the race? Not to any noticeable extent! And why? Because mothers are mothers by instinct. Not so with fathers.

“Fatherhood also has its responsibilities.”

“Fatherhood also has its responsibilities.”

Mothers are enthusiasts. They meet to chat over such problems as what makes a baby cry, or the care of the first tooth, or why baby refuses to stack up the adipose according to the book of Plunket, or any other topics conducive to the building of bonny babies.

But if you listen in to the male descanting on weak knees, lack of staying power over the distance, shortness of breath or paucity of pace, you can bet your celluloid shirt cuffs that he is speaking either of himself or his favourite racehorse.

Thousands of fathers imagine that their paternal responsibility ends at the cheque butt, whereas this is only where it begins. Consequently we make no apology for publishing this short treatise on “How to be a Good Father.”