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What does it mean to be a father figure?

Be someone’s source of admiration this Father’s Day, and beyond.

It’s said South Africa has one of the highest rates of fatherlessness in the world.

The General Household Survey 2018 by Stats SA revealed that 43,1 per cent of children under the age of 18 lived only with their mothers; and research conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and the South African Race Relations Institute (SARRI) over the last five years showed that 60 per cent of South African children have absent fathers.

With a strong belief in the importance of father figures, Clere For Men has taken the meaning of the word legend – as someone who defines greatness – and unpacked it further into the five qualities they believe are the mark of a legendary man. These qualities are strength, stamina, love, perseverance, and admiration. While all qualities speak to what a father should possess, admiration, described as a feeling of wonder, pleasure, or approval, speaks volumes in this instance.

Themba Ndlovu, Clere For Men brand manager said, “As a brand, we’re encouraging men, whether they be fathers in the biological sense or not, to step up and own that legendary father figure role. Own the word ‘admiration’. Give children a man to admire, respect and honour, and challenge other men to do the same.”

Ndlovu described the following key qualities to be that man, that father figure:

• Protective: A father figure will protect children by creating boundaries, considering their best interests, talking to them about things they should be aware of and putting important lessons into place. He’ll teach them about consequences of making wrong choices and instil a sense of character development in them.

• Affection: Once seen as a sign of weakness, affection is one of the most important qualities a father figure can possess. While a father figure may not hug and kiss the child like a mother does, his affection is no less than a mother’s. He lets children know they can count on him.

• Trust and security: Children believe their father is always right. He will never lie to them, he will never betray them, he will never leave them in the lurch. That is the trust a good father or father figure builds in a child. Children will know that their father will always be there for them if they’re in trouble.

• Encouragement: You are your children’s source of encouragement. Be it a soccer match, exam or first date, your presence (emotional or physical) will provide a confidence boost. You are happiest when they succeed and will make them strive for better if they fail. Your words are the point of difference and have the power to make them.

• Patience: A father figure takes the time to listen, to really listen to a child’s needs. He gives his undivided attention and will try to understand things from their perspective.

• Respect: The greatest father figures know how to treat girls and women with respect, and know how to lead children to do the same. Treat a woman properly – physically, emotionally, and verbally, and children will follow in your footsteps to do the same.

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