Linlithgow man Fraser Falconer is urging local parents - and grandparents - to get involved with a campaign to put ‘dad’ at the centre of child care.
Year of the Dad aims to finally put paid to the old tradition that looking after children is mainly or even exclusively for mums, recognising that huge changes in society mean that’s no longer always possible or even desirable.
And in backing the campaign Mr Falconer is drawing on his own experience at the sharp end of child care issues, because for 25 years he was the head of Children in Need in Scotland.
He says that as someone who has seen the trauma caused when children don’t have a happy childhood he’s even more determined than most to get out a positive message about “dads”.
In his own case he looks after Iris, his two and a half year old granddaughter, on a Friday, while her other grandparents take over on a Monday - which allows her parents to fit in home life with work commitments.
“It’s about having fun, whether it’s looking at the ducks and swans or jumping in a puddle,” he says, “and doesn’t have to be about going for paid-for treats all the time which many families can’t afford in any case.”
Fraser added: “The campaign is Year of the Dad, but we’re really talking about grandparents too - people who have a lot to contribute, yet who until fairly recently seldom gained much recognition.”
Figures on the campaign website show that in past decades many men had almost no involvement with their children’s upbringing, because they were always the breadwinners and typically spent little time with their kids.
Now all that is finally starting to change, says Fraser. “Now when you see parents with children at the park around half the grown-ups are men.
You can access the campaign website at http://www.yearofthedad.org/.