3. A Gentleman and his Daughter
Gone are the days of the typical Victorian Father figure and his characteristics attributed to defining Victorian male masculinity. Little attention was directed to the role of the Father by Victorian society, child nurturing was considered within the private realm away from public observation and interference. Fatherhood held a vague situation in the philosophy and practice of Victorian family life. If the public and private domains were defined by sex, then child-rearing fell under the domain of the wife.
The barren Gentleman (he without child) suffered a loss in masculine status. What was the determination of continuing to be in business if there was no one to whom he could pass it on to? There was also the impartiality towards the bearing of sons who would continue the family name.
Imagine if you will Mr George Banks in Mary Poppins, he accepts as true that his family should be run like a bank, making the family well-organized, but also making him a distant husband and father. He’s not really considered to be a malevolent person, but he is a strict, practical man, and initially believes that his children should be prepared for adult life in their youth, rather than allowed to have fun.
We arrive at today’s date with the question, how a Man can be a Father and a Gentlemen? For this we again speak to our Gentleman’s Guide, James McLeod. “A most wonderful and overwhelming experience happens to a chosen few, the day a little beaming face looks up at you and calls you Father. Being a Gentleman Father is very easy, there is no tricks or ideals you just have to ask yourself one thing… Would I be happy if my Son or Daughter brought someone like me home as a perspective suitor?
The Modern Gentleman Father is not a distant, hard faced person who does not show love. He shows love and affection as being emotional is not a sign of weakness. I often look into my daughters eyes and become overpowered with pride, a longing to protect and love to the point of outpouring. Be a Father. Don’t be ‘Mother’s assistant, you may run a business or be successful in your work environment, you surely can dress and feed a two year-old? Being covered in your child’s certified organic, celebrity mother endorsed yogurt is a badge of honour not an offence. Spend time with your children and have your own ideas about what they need. Don’t make sacrifices for your children, because ‘sacrifice’ infers that there was something better to do than being with your children. I love bedtime stories with my daughter and at the moment we are reading Peter Rabbit. I read and she runs around her bedroom screaming with excitment. Its fun and its time I get with her after a long day at the office.
So, sing the Wiggles, dance to Frozen and dress as the princess when she wants to be the Big Bad Wolf.
“It does not matter what kind of person you are, if a little girl pours you an imaginary cup of tea, you drink it with your pinky in the air”.
With Thanks, James McLeod