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Fathers Learn to Balance Parenting, Work

Raising children has traditionally been a mother's role. But modern sociology says a father's role in children's development is also important. Children abandoned and neglected by their fathers do not succeed as well as children in families where both parents are involved. An organization outside of Washington, DC offers a workshop that helps men become better fathers.

In Hurlock, Maryland, at a place called River House, an American-Russian church community is running a retreat for fathers.

Here fathers can get parental advice and have a chance to practice it on the spot – right away. Businessman Pavel Katsevenko from Hagerstown, Maryland says coming to the retreat has been a good opportunity to spend quality time with his son.

"It is very difficult to combine work with family. And we, fathers, have gathered today to discuss it. Many think that mother has to be with kids mostly, but I think when father is not involved, it leads to problems."

The program at River House is also open to children who don’t have fathers in their lives. For them, the program is an opportunity to interact with male role models. Family counselors also come to River House to see what practices work best in real life.

Chris Brigham bought the River House five years ago with the idea to help fathers become better parents.

"We bought this place in 2010 with that purpose and in 2011 we actually started serving those ministries in the community. The communities we've served since we've had the River House is Washington, DC, Baltimore, Wilmington and then some communities on the Eastern Shore."

Program organizer Victor Visotski is a pastor of the New Life Russian Church in Virginia. He says that for boys, father is the first teacher.

"It is very important for a father to be in his son's life. The son is going his father's path and learns from him. And the gathering in men's retreat is a great opportunity to relax in this nature and think about how to improve my relations with my wife, how to become a better example for my son."

Mr. Visotski adds that the father's role in a daughter's life is as important as his role in his son's life.

"Girl's love for the opposite sex begins with her love to her father. Her father is the first man she loves, she admires. A father for a daughter is a hero. It is important that the father was faithful to his wife, to create a family filled with love, because your daughter observes all these closely."

Mr. Visotski says a father must take his duties as a parent as seriously as his career. Setting aside quality time to spend with his child is a good start.

I’m Marsha James

Bakhtiyar Zamanov reported this story. Marsha James adapted it for Learning English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.


Words in This Story

retreat – n. a trip to a place where you can quietly pray, think or study

on the spot adj. without any delay, immediately

set asidephrasal verb to keep or save something for later or for a particular purpose

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