For the last several weeks, I have been traveling around India, visiting hundreds of HHI trainees and trainers. It has been an exciting, heartening adventure to be sure! Every time I do this, I notice a kind of theme that is going on under the current of our work. This time I was delighted to find that the theme is Daddy Power!
In south India, I met with about 100 mothers and grandmothers who had taken HHI’s training in the last year and what I heard loud and clear was how interested their husbands, the fathers, were in learning about their children. While it is common that HHI mommies go on to train other mommies in their lessons of nutrition, hygiene, baby massage and the like, I had not specifically heard before that they were teaching their husbands these lessons. This time, it is practically all I heard!
In India, as in many old and very traditional cultures, the father’s main role has been to care for the family financially, rarely taking direct action in the day-to-day care of the children. I think this is a lost opportunity for the men to get the joy their full serving of joy and love out of being a dad. But, after HHI comes through a village, reports are the mommies return home and straight away begin to teach the daddies, and likely they make more space for them to step in and claim some of the responsibilities and the joy that comes with them!
Mothers reported that now their husbands are giving baths, feeding their infants, taking them out the markets, telling them stories or singing them to sleep, giving baby massage and a few women even bragged that their husbands were washing the nappies! One mother beamed with pride as she told me that her husband “takes better care of our baby” than she does!
In speaking with some of the fathers, they have requested to have their own HHI Daddy Trainings. We think this is a grand idea!
Power to the Daddies!