Raising children has traditionally been a mother's role, but modern sociology says that a father's role in children’s development is also crucial. Children abandoned and neglected by their fathers do not thrive as well as the children in families where both parents are involved.
In Hurlock, Maryland, at a place called River House, an American-Russian church community is running a retreat for fathers where they get parental advice and have a chance to practice it on the spot. Businessman Pavel Katsevenko from Hagerstown, Maryland said 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,” said Katsevenko.
Not only fathers, but also children who don’t have fathers in their lives can attend the River House program. For them it is an opportunity to interact with male role models. Parental counselors also come here to see what practices work best in real life.
Chris Brigham purchased 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 have served since we have had the River House is Washington, DC, Baltimore, Wilmington and then some communities on the Eastern Shore,” said Brigham.
Program organizer Victor Visotski is a pastor of the New Life Russian Church in Virginia. He said that for boys, their 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 how to improve my relations with my wife, how to become a better example for my son,” said Visotski.
But Visotski agrees 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,” he said.
Visotski added that it's important that a father take his parental duties as seriously as his career. Setting aside quality time to spend with his child is a good start.