Given that National Child Protection Week starts on Fathers’ Day, it’s also a great time to draw attention to the important role of men in the lives of children.
As part of National Child Protection Week 2018, we invited local children to send in a story about a positive male role model, and share the good advice and confidence he inspires.
The responses from children around Australia were inspiring and heart-warming and some were even published in local papers.
Below are some examples of the stories that we received:
I have chosen to interview my Dad, Jonathan, as he is very important in my life. My Dad is important to me because he is caring, kind and I love him very much. He makes me feel happy and safe. He teaches me lots of things and he’s always there for me when I fall over.
He is also very funny and smart…that’s why I love my Dad.
When I asked Dad who was someone important to him when he was growing up, he said, “Good question Claudia”.
“I would like to identify my parents as being influential people in terms of making me the man I am today, but I was one of 5 kids so my parents were pretty busy and my dad was away a lot with business so I think a lot of it may have of it may come down to my older sister Louise, she was a very strong independent woman. She basically gave me a lot of courage and a lot of support and she pretty much pushed me into getting out of my comfort zone a lot, particularly when we were was young, so I find that she was quite influential in terms of making me think on my feet and not being afraid to put myself into positions where I probably wouldn’t normally be.”
What my dad means to me
I passed the ball to my teammate and looked across the field to the sideline. I was filled with joy when I saw that my Dad had made it to my AFL gala day on the other side of Sydney. The car was in for a service and I wasn’t expecting him to make it, but he had caught the train all the way over just to see me play. This is normal though: Dad is always at everything I am involved in. To me, my dad is the perfect role model. He always supports my brothers and I in all that we do and encourages us to always try our best. Whether it’s watching us play sport or supporting us at academic awards nights, Dad is always there for us, even if it means he takes an annoying amount of photos! Dad always takes an interest in my interests and this gives us plenty of bonding time to sing silly songs in the car and sneak past the service station for treats on the way home from school (don’t tell mum!). Dad is caring, kind, loving, entertaining and always a team player in our family, but the most important thing about my Dad is that he is active and present in my life to show me these qualities and how important they are.
My dad, Brett and myself always have fun fights (most of the time) and he always helps me out.
I like going on fun adventures with him like going to get ice-cream, going bowling, playing laser tag and much more. Dad always tells me just to do my best and that he believes in me. I like that he makes me think I can do anything if I try hard enough.
Dad is so much fun and I love spending time with him.
My story is about my dad. His name is Brett.
I’ve chosen him because I love him. He’s helpful and he loves me. We like watching movies together and our favourites are the scary ones! I think they’re spooky and fun and dad thinks so too. Another thing we like to do together is exercise – I’m going to be stronger than him one day!
My dad gives good advice – he tells me to be kind to other people. My dad is a wonderful person.
I have chosen to interview Andrew, who is a pastor at my Church. Andrew has had this role for the past 15 months, and I met him when we moved to the area at the beginning of the year.
What do kids from our community gain from being part of our church?
We have an awesome program designed to impact children and young people. It provides youth with the opportunity to have fun in a safe, positive and supportive environment where healthy community values are taught and applied.
What do you like about working at the Church?
I love working at the Church as I get the opportunity to hang out with children and young people and to get to know them and to encourage and support them. I love that I have the chance to make a difference in the life of a young person and that hopefully that difference will help them to build a strong life filled with faith, hope and love. I want families, children and young people to know that they are cared for and loved even when they are going through difficult times. I want them to know that they are welcome in our community and that God loves and values them greatly. I also love when I get to preach from the Scriptures and share God’s Word with others.
What unique things do you do to create a safe place at the Church?
Child safe training for all our leaders, all leaders must have a Blue Card, and comprehensive sign-in procedures.
In your role at the Church, you have to get to know lots of people. What do you most appreciate about the time we have spent together?
I enjoy hanging out with you, Mason, on Sundays and getting to know you better. You are such a cool kid with loads of energy, a loving heart and a determination to be and do your best.
What adults were important in your life when you were growing up and why?
My grandma was hugely important to me growing up. Whenever she would come over to our house, at bedtime, she would kneel beside my bed and pray for me. She taught me a few simple prayers that are still in my heart today. She planted a seed of faith in me that flourished many years later. She took the time to talk to me and I really enjoyed listening to her.
What’s some good advice you can give me and other youths?
Always look for ways to love and honour others.
Make good choices while you are young and this will help set a healthy foundation for your future.
Don’t be swayed away from your faith by the opinions of others – be strong and have the courage to stand up for what you believe.
If in doubt, ask.
Pray about the big decisions and trust God to show you the way.
Be humble and willing to learn.
Work hard, don’t hold back, set your sights, have a big, bold vision and go for it.
I am interviewing Richard. People call him Rick. He is special to me because he is my father. He is special because he brings home surprises like clothes, toys, and food I like. I like when my Daddy cooks tacos, stroganoff, and pancakes. Recently we had special time together at an Amy Shark concert.
Here is my interview with my Dad.
What is your favourite movie you have seen with me?
Incredibles 2 because it shows that kids can be super too!
What is your favourite song that reminds you of me?
Somewhere Over The Rainbow because it is our bedtime song.
My Daddy works a lot. But I do have some special memories like swimming with him, going to see Wizard of Oz together at QPAC, a surprise date at EKKA, and our bedtime reading and chats.
One time he made cupcakes for my birthday, and when I was two we took a special trip to America – just us. No Mummy, or my brother and sister. My Dad is American, and originally from Chicago. I was there for Halloween and I was able to dress up and go trick or treating!
My story and interview is about Dave. He is my musical theatre teacher. He teaches me about acting and confidence.
I love absolutely everything about my musical theatre classes and spending time with Dave. He is the best teacher and I am grateful for the opportunity to attend dance and drama classes.
Dave has not only helped me in an acting sense but many other things like acting on your first instincts, and building friendships.
Here is my interview with Dave.
What do you most appreciate about the time we spend together?
I enjoy when my drama class surprises me with the direction of their story telling. It is amazing when young people bring an idea with a level of humour or drama to a story that hadn’t occurred to me or the other teachers. Jasmine, you are a great example of someone whose creativity is beyond her years.
What adults were important in your life when you were growing up and why?
My Dad was very important. He taught me to always offer help to anyone that needed it, whether that person was a friend or someone I had just met.
What do you like about your work?
I love my work because it is a place where fun is encouraged! My work is never boring, it is always a place where laughter and fun is encouraged.
What unique things do you do to create a safe place?
At the beginning of every new term, in my class I remind every student that this needs to be a place where everyone is safe to try their best without any judgement from the other students. While we are learning new skills, it will take some time to achieve perfection, so while practicing and getting better, it’s important to be in an environment where we can confidently concentrate on improvement.
What’s some good advice you can give me?
My advice to you, Jasmine, is to continue to use your wonderfully quick wit and sense of humour in the creative arts, whether it is performance or writing. Follow your joy Jasmine!
Fictional story about fatherhood.
My name is Khalif and I am a refugee. Let me tell you my story. A story that will make you happy to know that there are people out there like this, people like my father.
My home country is called Syria and I lived in a house with my father Junaid, my mother Día and my sister Hani. The house we lived in wasn’t really a house it was a tent. The tent was always cramped as we had my mother and her sister, who would usually work in the tent every day, my mother was an artist of highest degree, she would say. She would paint the most marvellous paintings of different landscapes, she even portraits of my sister and me. My father would build things that would help everyone who had it hard. He was my inspiration as I wanted to grow up and be a helpful person like him. My father would always say, “You will be that one person who was born to stand out, wherever we go.” My sister, Hani, was very kind to people as she would use her manners and give to people in need. The climate was hot in Syria, not the hot in Australia, but hot that would burn and shrivel your skin.
At the time I turned 8 years of age, something was happening that I never knew about. There was a war, a war that killed adults, parents, grandparents and even children. My father always knew we had to escape, so he suggested to my mother his idea, she agreed. My mother and father were talking to a close friend who said, “I have heard of a wonderful place called Australia, it’s apparently very nice and a safe place to live.” My father pulled me aside one day and reminded me once again, “Always remember, no matter where we are you were born, to stand out.”
After a few weeks passed, one night I woke up to hear the cry of a young baby, this cry was a frightened cry that obviously signalled something was wrong. After I heard this I started to notice everything that was going on. I started to notice why people were hiding, running, crying and looking terribly scared. Hani came up to me that day and cried out “Why is dad and mum saying weird things like, no matter where we are?” I tried to answer the question that Hani asked yet I didn’t even know the answer to it myself.
My father and mother then told us that we had to escape the place we called home, we had to escape Syria. They had kept a secret from us that they were saving up for a boat to buy at the coastline of Syria where we could set sail. We walked weeks while to get to the coast with bags on our backs. The sun was so hot during the day and at night the temperature was fresh and smelt minty. We came to the coastline where we bought our old fishing boat off an old fisherman who said it smelt of rotten fish. But as you do we all got used to it. Late at night we had snuck out to the boat as quietly as we could. It was quite hard as the wood made a creaking sound every time we moved, which would attract attention from people. We made it safely onto the boat and off the coastline. When we set off my father yet again with his worried face on, the face that you hate to see on your love one, he explained “If something bad happens if you just dig deep you will find something good, like Grandma.” My father made me laugh when he said the last bit.
The sun was hotter than ever before, it was scorching, it felt like I was rolling around in fire. Luckily, for us, clouds had come over and gave us shade. It took us a while until we realised these weren’t good clouds that were nice and calm, these were clouds that were fierce and cruel. They tortured us with raging waves that hit and rocked the boat from side-to-side. The waves were so harsh they broke our one and only motor one-third of the way to Australia. The waves were powerful enough to tear the boat apart. My father sat next to me and told me to just “Dig Deep,” and so I did this throughout our refuge. The next morning, I had woken up to the cry of my sister. She had blood dripping down her knee like a red sea in a storm. Hani did not tell us what happened and feared for her health as we hadn’t got our tetanus shots at the time. We worried for yet another thing as we suddenly ran out of food and water. However, we had luck at the time because of my father’s navigational skills we had met with an American cargo ship that was going to Australia. The captain of this ship was tall, kind-hearted and he had a daughter that was very nice. Her name was Cassidy. We played for hours until we arrived at the harbour in Brisbane.
It has been two years now and I I’m settled in to school and the community. At school we had a day where our fathers came for a day and shared a little bit about themselves as it was Father’s Day. He told the story of us on the ship and in Syria in great detail and I became very proud of my father, even prouder than before.
To this day my father Junaid is my Young Fighter, he is my hero.