Be the father you want to be
My father, like most men of his generation, knew little about being a dad. As a parent in the 1950’s, he came home late on weekdays and on weekends he filled his day with chores. As a young child, when my father was holed up in his study paying bills, I would hide under his desk just be near him, secretly soaking up his company. When we did talk it was about school or activities. We had no language for feelings.
We spent so little time together that those moments, however mundane, were like a drink of water to a parched throat.
Fifty years later, men now have enough leisure time to examine their own fathering and really define the kind of father they want to be.
The following are tips that I often share with fathers looking to connect with their children:
- Don’t be afraid to take risks. Too often when men don’t know what to do, or don’t feel capable, they do nothing. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone in your relationships with your children. Don’t be afraid to express your feelings and share your own personal experiences.
- Take the time to listen and learn from your children. Yes, we have much to learn from our children who can help us be better dads. Take the time to listen to what your kids have to say about you. They spend a lot of time observing our behavior.
- Avoid the tendency to lecture your children. As men, we often think that giving “advice” is how to connect with loved ones. Our family wants us to share our feelings and experiences without a lecture. Children stop listening to our lectures at a young age.
- Become the father that you want to be. Whether you had a great role model or not, we all need to invent ourselves as fathers and be the dad we always wanted to have or hoped to be.
Do you have additional tips?