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Young Fathers Can Help Fix Our Broken Society

by Dorothy Gauvin

posted in News and Society

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To generalise is pretty useless when it comes to fixing broken things. We need specifics. What we don't need is lectures by academics without experience in the everyday realities of raising a family.
You won't get that from this article. In asking for your attention, my sole qualification is a lifetime as happily married mother and keen observer of friends with their families.
The age-old plagues of war, intolerance and discrimination are beyond the scope of this discussion. Yet I surmise they all stem from the same root cause as the deteriorating quality of modern family life.
So, we come to the first specific question: is our society broken?
For people from the past few generations, the answer is 'Yes.' Sadly, the evidence is abundant.
  • Babies born with HIV/Aids or foetal alcohol syndrome. Children taken into 'Care' from homes made unsafe by violent, drunken, neglectful or cruel parents. Children who escape the frying pan of 'Care' to land in the fire of homelessness on the streets. Boys who were brutalised by their fathers, repeating the pattern with their girlfriend or wife. Girls whose mothers were treated with no respect, growing into wives and girlfriends who lack self-respect. Their brothers viewing all women as undeserving of respect.

  • Suburbs where neighbours are subjected to unreasonable levels of noise from nearby parties that continue long into the night. City streets where a lone woman or man is liable to assault by a gang of thuggish youths with nothing better to do. Public places made unsightly for all users by the vandalism called graffiti. Shopkeepers attacked for whatever cash is in the till, their stores ransacked by hoodlums. Thieves who 'lift' goods from shops because they want something they can't or won't pay for. People who abuse the welfare system without shame.

These examples are drawn from everyday life in cities and towns throughout the Western world. All of them are down to 7 fundamental character flaws.
1. Selfishness.
2. Rudeness.
3. Carelessness.
4. Lack of respect.
5. Lack of self-control.
6. Lack of empathy.
7. Lack of imagination.
  • As this year's Fathers' Day approaches, the 'imminent demise of men' is puffed by reports of falling numbers of genes on the Y chromosome, which determines masculinity in a foetus. Even if true, it seems unlikely to result in any dramatic effect on gender balance, since the percentage is naturally weighted towards conception of males.

Fathers are still needed, though formal marriage falls from favour. Many single mothers make a great job of rearing their kids without the benefits of a male partner but our society's in trouble. That signals we've taken a wrong turn.
Let's applaud those fathers who did their best within constrictions of the past.
Let's encourage fathers of today who face different but equally difficult trials.
Let's pressure governments and industry for appropriate laws and workplaces.
In the next article, I'll offer a 7-point plan for how modern fathers can improve outcomes for their kids and communities.
About the Author: Dorothy Gauvin is the author of Conlan's Luck, An Epic Story of the Shearers' War. This little-known uprising in 1890 has been called a 'Secret Civil War.' Scholarly texts have been published about this seminal and colourful period of Australian history, but Conlan's Luck seems to be the only novel yet published on the subject. Check out Dorothy's blog on the mystery,history and wildlife of Australia at
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