To coincide with Fathers’ Day this Sunday, New Scientist has a nice little feature about ‘nature’s most devoted dads‘. If you reckon carrying a toddler around on your shoulders is tiring, spare a thought for the giant water bug – he has to carry150 kids on his back.
And if you think parenting causes stress and arguments at your house, consider the emu. Darwin said that the male ‘not only performs the whole duty of incubation, but has to defend the young from their mother’ and also that female emus are‘savage, quarrelsome, and noisy‘.
Of course working dads have their own strains and stresses. The office can take a toll on father/child relationships, especially if long commutes and business trips are involved.
So this Fathers’ Day, perhaps it’s time that dads started to reclaim some of those childhood moments lost to the office. And I think maybe the most powerful tool for rebuilding that parent/child relationship is the smartphone.
While it’s no substitute for spending real time with a child – discussing their day, reading books and going to the park – a smartphone allows multiple ways to communicate and interact with your sprog. It can fit into the cracks and crevices of a working day.
If you go for a walk at lunchtime, you can share photos of interesting things that you see to discuss at home. If you’re on abusiness trip, you can set up video calls to the family to talk about the place you’re visiting.
Heck, even if you’re just commuting on the bus you can play games online against your child, or challenge each other to see who gets the highest score on Flappy Crush (or whatever it’s called).
It’s hard to overstate the positive impact this technology can have on relationships. I actually know someone who forgot what their father looked like because he was always away on business trips. Can you imagine that?
Oh and one more thing. As stressful as all this seems, as a human parent you probably don’t have to worry about the neighbours eating your kids. I can just imagine the awkward conversation in the water bug household when mum comes home to find out there are only 148 children at the dinner table.