Carte blanche to David Goudreault | To the imperfect model fathers

With their unique pen and their own sensibility, artists in turn present us with their vision of the world around us. This week we’re giving David Goudreault carte blanche.

Posted at 7:00 am

David Goudreault
writer

The revolutions follow one another and are hardly alike. We idealize some of them, reject others. As technological, demographic and climatic upheavals threaten our existence, we take a few minutes to celebrate a small revolution that is repairing the world at the heart of intimacy: a historic emotional reinvestment by Quebec fathers.

Closer to our children than ever, more loving and committed, fathers are learning to bond through bonding. The role of the father has changed fundamentally within a few generations. For the best. Around the world, but especially here, and it’s documented. Let’s be proud of this strong trend in our country.

A recent Léger survey from 2021, conducted for the Regroupement pour la valorisation de la paternité and put into perspective by the journalist Louise Leduc⁠1, shows that for Canadian fathers (43%), the role of breadwinner still dominates, while in Quebec they see themselves primarily as role models (48%) and as parents who provide care and affection (45%). This observation may explain why between 2012 and 2017, half of fathers in our counties took paternity leave, compared to just 38% of their peers outside of Quebec.

Get a pack of cigarettes from the supermarket and never come back, it’s becoming rare.

Separated fathers also remain present, and joint custody is becoming increasingly common, with significant growth over the past three decades.

Again, with a high prevalence in Quebec, where it is two to three times more common than the other provinces of Canada.

The numbers speak, so do the professionals. Educators, teachers and psychologists confirm an increased presence of fathers, a time investment they have seen recently, both in providing support during school activities and serving on the boards of youth organizations and CPEs. The quality of the presence also develops; although men still represent some form of authority, they learn to greet, listen, and comfort.

I hope to be one of them. Every day I learn to be a father and that is the role of my life. The one who stays when I’m done playing writer, social worker, socialite. I have wonderful role models around me who are helping me to be the father I want to be, but most importantly the one my children need. The nuance is significant.

My friend Martin, who quit fooling around, doing drugs, doing cocaine to better raise his two daughters, practically alone, as a single parent in the bush. Without sparing yourself. Between the factory, chores, and meetings, I have watched him watch over his children for 14 years with love and caring, a spirit of sacrifice and renunciation.

Jimmy, who accompanies his little Eliam, who has been hospitalized in Sainte-Justine for over a year, is hooked to a mechanical heart. He finds the strength to raise his daughter, love his girlfriend, work and mobilize the media on the importance of organ donation. Without forgetting to circulate a petition to Quebec to take inspiration from New Brunswick and introduce implicit consent. A father who fights for his own son, and all sick children too.

Pierrot, who does the emotional balancing act without batting an eyelid. Between the son he barely had out of puberty and becoming a man himself, and his 6-year-old daughter, his big heart finds space to welcome his girlfriend and her two children, who represent a wide range of ages and cultures cover parental responsibilities. With serenity and a big smile.

The great Pierre, handsome tattooed lover of poetry, who floods my newsfeed with photos of his son with Down syndrome and is bright.

These fathers who surround me are ennobled with those who live in me and have always accompanied me. My grandfather, Roger, who adopted and loved my father unreservedly. A classic provider model who built her house with her own hands and worked several jobs so that her children would not lack for anything. The only time I’ve seen him cry was when he was conjuring up his own family who didn’t welcome his adopted son at the height of the love he himself had for him.

And my father, always there when it came to picking up crumbs from my youth, picking me up at regular intervals from the police station and now accompanying me to galas. The first to read me, criticize me, contradict me, but also the last to judge me, abandon me. Despite the tensions and knots, the bond never broke.

I love nothing and nobody as much as I love my children. I have their names tattooed on my wrists in case I should remember to open them. Engraved in the heart, her laughter and her tears. Keep the essentials in mind; Despite the conflicts we will have, the weariness that will overcome me, the impatience that I will regret, I have nothing more valuable than the title of father. You must be worthy of it.

Happy birthday, my colleagues!

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