For those fathers totally without their children, whose children live far away, or those who are not allowed access to them, the picture is a bleak one. Part of the reason behind campaigning for men’s rights to better recognised in the legal system is the fact that you are not simply passive in the face of injustice.
Men who protest by dressing up as Father Christmas – to put the ‘Father back into Christmas’ are doing so because they have been let down by every official body in the country. With not even the Church of England backing their campaign for father to have equal rights to access, there seems like there is sometimes nowhere to turn.
If you are permanently without your children then you know that campaigning is a great way of expressing your passionate belief in what you believe to be true. It makes you feel more alive, less of a victim. You are granting yourself some agency, simply by getting involved. Acting is almost always better than doing nothing. An object in motion finds it easier to change direction. If you’re static you’re going nowhere. So if you are dreading another lonely Christmas, apply the same thinking. Act, if not with your own children, then with other people’s. One of the best things to do on Christmas Day is to volunteer for a local charity. Children’s hospital wards are some of the loveliest places to visit on Christmas Day; delivering a hot meal to others who are unable to manage will brighten your day as much as it does yours.
There are so many individuals and families who need you, even if you are excluded from your own. It’s a way of demonstrating your good faith to the world, and showing your children that you wanted to use all the love you can’t give them to help others in need. It will make them proud of you when you tell them one day what you did on Christmas Day because you missed them so much. Those on their own at Christmas have spoken very movingly about what being able to help others on that day has meant to them. So think seriously about taking yourself off for the day, mucking in and helping out. It will help to keep hope alive and also put you back in touch with the real meaning of Christmas again.