I’ve got to be honest, my primary custodial parent was a single mother. As a child, I celebrated her on Mother’s and Father’s Day. I love my father, but she sacrificed much more for my well-being. In short, Mama’s boy typing.
Seriously though, as we move away from the events of childhood we tend to lose sight of how greatly OUR upbringing impacts our person. We become less empathetic causing our children, the greatest contribution any of us can offer to humanity, to grow away from us.
There is a belief that fathers have to operate a certain way. I’m here to tell you, that fathers NEED to be what their children need. No more. No less. In the words of a great profit, “Know your role and shut your mouth!” We can’t live for them.
As fathers, we all hope the memories of us make our loved ones smile (long after we leave their company). Here are some things I’ve noticed that improve the odds that we’ll be THAT dad.
As our babies progress through their various stages of development. Their modes of communication change. Look closely for those things that don’t (body language, facial expressions, and manner of action).
My son, Micah, told me a few months ago how much he appreciated my guidance (like with words and stuff high level for a 17-year-old).
In their early years, kids ask why and can be extremely inquisitive. As our children age, one of two things happens. Our kids learn if we were honest or dishonest. That can and will greatly affect your child’s level of communication into and THROUGH adulthood.
It’s getting harder and harder to hide improprieties and shortcomings in this age of technology. Do yourself a favor. Be honest and communicate in earnest in all matters.
I’ve been guilty of hearing people, rather than listening. I’d blame it on my ADHD, but I’m working on myself.
It’s easy to get caught up in parenting by adjudication, penalizing our children for the acts BEFORE listening to what led up to them. We learn how children think, thusly informing our methods of effective discipline.
It’s not about you.
We are only part of the equation. We must allow our children to be who they are. I’m not saying allow them to do anything, simply recognize them as an individual. We often TRY to impose our purview and goals onto our children. If you really want that to happen… Be someone they’d like to replicate.
There are many factors that determine who we become. As parents, our job is to guide and provide. Not, make and berate. Parenthood is a lot of things. Easy isn’t one of them.
Desmond Dunn is husband to Tiffany Dunn and dad to two great kids: Micah (17) and Keilyn (11). He received his Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from Southeastern University. Desmond is a private sports coach and teacher. Desmond is currently in remission from a recent fight with Hodgkins Lymphoma. Anytime Desmond is not working or coaching, you can find him cheering his son on at a track meet, taking his daughter on a movie date or making the best homemade coffee for his wife.