June 2014 – The Guardian – Mentoring is what young men crave without realising it

June 2014 – The Guardian – Mentoring is what young men crave without realising it

Being a man means being responsible, respecting other people, making a contribution to the community … and …” Dave, 28, hesitates for a couple of seconds and looks down at the little girl smiling broadly beside him: “Most of all, it means being a good father,” he says. The girl is his daughter Susie, nine. She’s tugging at my sleeve excitedly. “Excuse me, can I say something?” she says. “I just want to say I’m proud of my dad. I’m really proud he’s my dad.”

The most important role anyone can take on is to be a parent. Poor parenting can have devastating consequences, especially in relation to fathers and sons. Dave admits he didn’t always feel able to be a good father to Susie. “I had a major trauma that I’d rather not talk about when I was little,” he explains, “but it affected my whole life, shaped my whole life with depression, anger and violence. It turned me against everyone, even against myself.”

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