A2 Basic UK 302 Folder Collection
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Catherine: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute
English, I'm Catherine.
Neil: And I'm Neil.
Catherine: Now, Neil, you're a dad,
aren't you?
Neil: I am a dad. How did you know? Is it
the grey hair in my beard?
Is it the wrinkles around the eyes?
Catherine: I thought that was
just your age.
Neil: Well, yes, maybe. In today's
programme we're going to be talking
about fathers and how being a father
has changed over the years.
But before we hear more about this topic,
our question for the day. According to
recent research in the UK, what
percentage of men are present when
their children are born? Is it: a) 55%,
b) 75% or c) 95%? What do you think?
Catherine: I think a lot of men these days
like to see their children born. It's not
culturally inappropriate so I'm gonna
go for 95%.
Neil: Well, we'll find out if you're right
at the end of the programme.
Now, Dr Anna Machin is an evolutionary
anthropologist. She studies, among other
things, how human behaviour has
changed and is changing. She's
written a book called The Life of Dad.
She's been studying new fathers and
spoke about her research on the BBC's
Woman's Hour programme.
She asked why men want to become
fathers. She starts by saying that there
are lots of reasons but how many does
she mention in her answer?
Dr Anna Machin: There's lots of different
reasons why men want to be fathers - for
some of them it's just a stage in life
they've reached. They've got the house,
they've got the job, now it's time to have a
family. Sometimes they admit that
actually they're not that
keen, but their partner wants a baby, so
they're kinda going along with it. And a
reasonable number actually say they do
it because they want to undo what their
father did to them, so rewrite history in
relation to fathers and the experience of
fathering, to be a better
father than their father was.
Neil: How many reasons does
she mention?
Catherine: She mentioned three reasons.
The first was that it was that time in life -
the guys had a home and a job and
having children was the thing to do next.
Neil: Another reason was that it was what
their partners wanted, even if they weren't
that keen themselves. If you're 'not keen
on something' it means you are 'not
enthusiastic about it', it's not really
something you want to do, but because
it's what their partner wants they agree to
it, or as Dr Machin said,
they're going along with it.
Catherine: Yes, 'going along' with
something, is a phrase that means
'agreeing to do' something
even though you don't really want to do it.
It's interesting that Dr Machin said that
some men admit to this. 'To admit to'
something is 'to say or agree' that
something is true even if you're perhaps
ashamed of it or you
don't want it to be true.
Neil: There was one more reason she
mentioned and that was that some men
become parents because they want to be
a better father than their own father had
been. Let's listen again.
Dr Anna Machin: There's lots of different
reasons why men want to be fathers - for
some of them it's just a stage in life
they've reached. They've got the house,
they've got the job, now it's time to have a
family. Sometimes they admit that
actually they're not that keen, but their
partner wants a baby, so they're kinda
going along with it. And a reasonable
number actually say they do it because
they want to undo what their father did to
them, so rewrite history in relation to
fathers and the experience of fathering,
to be a better father than their father was.
Neil: So what is it about some father's
own dads that they didn't like?
Here's Dr Machin again.
Dr Anna Machin: Well, in some cases, you
know, the father would be neglectful,
some fathers were absent and others
they just felt they were a very, I suppose,
we'd say a 1950s father so distant,
disciplinarian not actually involved
in their children's daily life and certainly
not involved in their care. So today's
generation fathers, even in the 10 years
that I've been studying dads we've seen
a massive evolution in
how hands-on fathers are.
Neil: She talks there about some negative
characteristics associated with dads
in the past. She suggests that some
fathers didn't have a very close
relationship with their sons, they were
'absent' which means they 'weren't
at home a lot and didn't spend time'
with their children.
Catherine: Yes, and some fathers were
seen as a 'disciplinarian'. That describes
someone whose main communication
with their children was to give them strict
rules and tell them off or punish them
if they did something wrong.
Neil: These days, according to Dr Machin,
fathers are much more 'hands-on'.
This phrase means they are 'much more
involved' with their children and share
bringing up their children
with their partners.
Catherine: And talking of sharing, Neil,
come on - it's time to know the answer
to today's question.
Neil: Yes, indeed. According to recent
research in the UK, what is the percentage
of fathers who are there when their
children are born?
Was it 55%, 75% or 95%?
Catherine: And I said a very optimistic 95%.
Neil: Being optimistic is good obviously
because you are correct.
Catherine: That's fantastic!
Neil: And now, for something else
fantastic, our review of
today's vocabulary...
Catherine: We started off with 'admit to'
for when you say something is true, even
if it might make you look a little bit bad.
And before we go on I have to admit, Neil,
that it was me who ate your biscuit.
Neil: Which one?
Catherine: The one that you left on the desk.
Neil: That's all right. I wasn't really keen
on it anyway. It had been on the floor.
Catherine: What? Yuck!
Neil: Yeah, well, it serves you right! And
'to be keen on' something is our next
phrase, meaning 'being very interested in
and enthusiastic' about something.
Catherine: Then we had 'to go along with'
something. This is when you 'agree to do
something even if you are not keen' on it.
Neil: An 'absent' father is one who is 'not at
home to spend time' with his children.
Catherine: And some fathers are
'disciplinarians'. They have strict rules and
they give out punishments but these
days more fathers are 'hands-on' which
means they are 'very much involved' in
looking after and bringing up
their children.
Neil: Well, that's all we have time for
today. Join us again next time and
remember you can find us on Instagram,
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and of course
our website bbclearningenglish.com.
See you soon. Goodbye!
Catherine: Bye!
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Why do men want to be fathers? Watch 6 Minute English

302 Folder Collection
Evangeline published on August 21, 2018
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