A poem to describe the diversity of worldwide fatherhood

Some children have fathers who live far away and send money or clothing
Some children have fathers who live nearby and visit regularly
Other children have fathers who raise them alone
Some have fathers who share home and caring duties with their mother
Others have fathers who look after them all the time, so their mothers can work

Some children have fathers they stay with at weekends and in the holidays
Others have fathers who are in jail
Others have fathers who live at home, but are rarely there
Some have foster fathers or step fathers

Some children have fathers who are too poor to provide for them
Some have an uncle or grandfather who fathers them
Some children have a father who is a child himself
And some children have no father figure

There are fathers who read bedtime stories to their children
And there are fathers who cannot read
There are fathers who love and care for their children
And there are fathers who neglect and abuse their children

Some fathers attend the birth and every milestone in their children’s lives
Others have never even met their teacher
Some fathers are ill or disabled, some commit crimes, some abuse drugs or alcohol
And some beat their children’s mothers
Others work long hours in hard jobs to provide for their children

Some fathers are confident in their parenting role and take great pride in it
Others are frightened of these responsibilities
Some fathers run away from their children
Others, desperate to see them, are prevented from doing so

Fatherhood is different in so many ways for so many children
But one thing is universal
What fathers do … MATTERS TO CHILDREN

International Fatherhood Summit, Oxford, March 2004