“Any fool can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a daddy…” Anon.

By David Devenney, Fathers Network Scotland


The above quote reminds me of a friend in parish ministry who often said to the young couple he was about to marry. “Weddings are great, weddings are fun, weddings are expensive, people cry and laugh at weddings, what you wear and where you stand are important…but in reality weddings are easy. Making a positive, nurturing lifelong commitment to each other in your married life and possibly as loving parents of children is much more difficult…and infinitely more rewarding.”

What’s true for a good marriage pertains equally to the tough, lifelong challenge facing every father is to be a great Dad. A great dad means that you have to play like a kid, give advice like a friend and protect like a bodyguard and much more. It can be daunting and challenging, especially for new dads, but it will change your life forever and make a better man of you.

2016 is the Year of the Dad. It is an initiative of Fathers Network Scotland, funded by the Scottish Government as part of its National Parenting Strategy. Our aims are to

♦  Celebrate the difference a great dad can make in the life of their children, the family and society.

♦  Foster understanding of the key contribution fathers make to child 
development, family and community life

♦  Increase awareness of the organisational benefits in acknowledging men’s family roles.

♦  Advance father-friendly practice within organisations and their services.

Research overwhelmingly shows that children, families and society as a whole benefit from the positive involvement of fathers – and Year of the Dad was created to help bring about a step-change in the way we think about fathers, for example.

Fathers’ attitudes and behaviour are major influences on mothers’ attitudes towards smoking and even breastfeeding. Others include alcohol and substance misuse, and childhood obesity.

In education, sensitive parenting by fathers from the earliest days in a child’s life can impact positively on child development and school readiness.

All of this is true for girls as well as boys and the benefits of involved fatherhood last way longer than the early years, into the teenage years and beyond. We might call it ‘The Dad Effect’.

Throughout 2016 and beyond, we’re issuing a rallying call across Scotland to support dads, embrace family-friendly, inclusive practice and reflect the importance of fathers in child development.

We believe we’re at a tipping point in history. The past 50 years have seen striking cultural changes from a time when many dads weren’t even at their children’s births, to the present-day reality of millions of dads fully involved a nurturing role. The old stereotype of married breadwinner and disciplinarian no longer serves us in an age of increasing diversity and gender equality.

We hope all families will take support from the groundswell that Year of the Dad brings – by signing up to the campaign at, spreading the word, perhaps even blazing a trail at home within your own family or where you work.


David Devenney

Development Manager

Fathers Network Scotland






David Devenney, Fathers Network Scotland

David Devenney served as a Police Officer in Glasgow, for four years before joining the Royal Marine Commandos in 1980. He saw combat service during the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands and later in Iraq and Afghanistan. After leaving the service in 2009, he worked as team leader in a prison project for a UK charity in three High Security prisons teaching inmates life skills and personal development. In 2014 he established a completely new and unique initiative on behalf of Police Scotland and the Scottish Government. The Police Scotland Youth Advisory Panel is composed of 25 young people from a wide spectrum of social backgrounds and life experience and from across Scotland. In 2015 he took on the role of Development Manager with Fathers Network Scotland.

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