Yesterday Marc and I attended Families Need Fathers Annual Conference, it was a full day of workshops and speakers, and an excellent lunch!
To be in a room full of predominately Dads, was a great privilege, and also very emotional and moving.
Every single one of those Dads were there with one overwhelming need, a need to be part of the lives of their precious children. Children who, presumably, were born within a loving and caring relationship,and yet here they all were, wearing their hearts on their sleeves, just wanting to know why?
They were of all ages, all different backgrounds, different cultures, varying professions but all men who have been treated with contempt by their ex partners and in my view by the Justice System.
Some Dads have been on this crusade for many years, some are new to the heartbreak.
Those who are, if you like veterans, have a firm, solid view those who are just embarking on this are totally lost, traumatised by what is happening to them, bewildered and shocked.
Even those who are ‘old hands’, have this overwhelming sadness and emptiness behind their eyes.
We sat and listened all day on subjects on legal aid, domestic abuse,litigants in person and for me the most important, parental alienation- Dr Sue Whitcombe Chartered Psychologist. The afternoon session was with Sir. James Munby President of the Family Division of the High Court in England, who said himself said that nothing much has changed in recent years to improve the situation.
As far as the law is concerned my understanding is that nothing is going to change any time soon.
So whilst the law sits on its hands, there is a whole generation of very damaged children growing up without both parents in their lives.
Of course it is interesting to listen and learn, but the most important thing for me, were the Dads.
I shall never forget that soulful look, Dads who should be outside playing in the park with their children, reading to them at bedtime, picking them up from school, and yes, ticking them off when necessary.
All things that so many Dads take for granted, can be ripped away from them in the blink of an eye.
I can’t say anything to help heal their wounds but I will say this. “Just at the moment your children are apart from you, and they may well say hurtful things to you, they are in an impossible situation. They know that if they talk about you they will get into trouble, but that absolutely does not mean they have forgotten you. They want a quiet life, they want to quite rightly be children and do what children do, to be able to grow up freely without the burden of conflict in their lives. But above all else, they have never and will never stop loving you.”
Thank you for letting us be part of your day.