Brenda and I have been ‘empty-nesting’ by degrees since our daughter Laura moved to Bristol, initially to study and now to live and work. But in the last year and a bit we’ve started to acquire a wider family, as we’ve got to know Laura’s boyfriend, and have also spent time with his parents, his siblings, his nephew, and the family’s two huge golden retrievers. Of course every family is unique which means we all have to embrace new experiences as we fit in together, and accepting and indeed enjoying the love, the slobber and the hair of two hugely affectionate dogs is a good example of what I mean! Above all we have felt very welcomed and accepted by Connor’s family when we have visited them in Bristol and for this we are hugely grateful.
Coming to work for Care for the Family is in many ways not a dissimilar experience. Although I’m now talking about an organisation, it is one with family values at its heart. Again, there is plenty of getting to know new people, sharing experiences, breaking down barriers, as well as practical issues such as getting data and websites integrated. Or to put it another way – learning to accept one another’s ‘slobber’. And again, I am very aware of how welcoming everyone here has been to both Mark Chester and I.
At Care for the Family, supporting men in families at all stages of their fatherhood journey is an important element of our vision. Indeed it was Rob Parson’s own fatherhood journey that was a catalyst for the establishment of the charity all those years ago. Who Let The Dads Out? has also been at work for over 15 years, and it’s great that this project is not just continuing, but is able to be absorbed into and shaped by its new surroundings, so that we can promote strong family life and help those who face family difficulties all the better.
Over the coming weeks and months we will be announcing some of our plans to reach and support even more fathers through events and resources aimed at both families and churches. You can join us on this journey here.