“Fatherhood is a very natural thing; it’s not something that shakes up my life but rather enriches it.”
~ Andrea Bocelli
Today’s culture is making it easier and easier to be a “father.” While children continue to be neglected, research is showing that there is an incline in the number of fathers who are actively participating in the lives of children. Moreover, there has been a significant “…increase in programs designed to promote involved and responsible fatherhood.” (Perry, 2012, Online)
As a father, I have discovered my lifelong calling is, “fatherhood.” Fatherhood is essentially the willingness to treat with protective care and in a nurturing manner. It is fatherhood that allows the male in the relationship to join together with his partner and become “the father”. A father is more than having the ability to impregnate a women, rather a father is the person who provides support, care, and an unconditional environment.
As men, we are not equipped to bear children, yet we are naturally designed to be fathers. It is recognizing and accepting the role of fatherhood, that enables a man to begin becoming a father. Our limitations, reservations, and fears of fatherhood, are frequently the uncertainties and insecurities associated with failure . What if I fail as a father? So what, pull yourself up by your bootstraps and move forward. Do not hesitate or fear asking for advice. Asking for advice is not an indication that you are weak, rather that you are strong in your willingness to ask for help.
After all, fatherhood is the greatest education a man can ever receive. As a father, you not only have an opportunity to learn more about yourself, but about the world around you. A child’s constant questioning and inquiry of life, offers a father an unique opportunity and the privilege for growth.
“It is a wise father that knows his own child.”
~ William Shakespeare
As a father, we need to actively listen. Active listening is the ability, the skill, technique, or an inherent trait whereby, a person is purposefully and intentionally focusing on the communications being sent by another person or persons. An active listener not only listens and receives an intended message, but is capable of paraphrasing what messages he or she has received back to the communicator. An active listener recognizes that not all communication is verbally spoken, but is often communicated through verbal and nonverbal transmissions. It entails good physical posture, gestures, and purposeful eye contact.
As an active listener, you will align your body towards the intended recipient. You may lean towards the sender or receiver, maintain active eye contact, posture your body in an open form, and be relaxed while nonverbally communicating. Active Listening is also being capable of reflecting any verbal or nonverbal communication that is communicated.
As a father, an active listener is purposeful in his actions, reflections, and all forms of communications.
UNCONDITIONALLY LOVE AND RESPECT YOUR CHILDREN’S MOTHER
“You should express regularly to your wife and children your reverence and respect for her. Indeed, one of the greatest things a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”
~ Howard W. Hunter
As a clinician, I have met many fathers who have very little to no respect for the mothers of their children. Whether or not, you have remained with the mother of your children, it crucially important that you show an unwavering respect for her. While you may personally dislike or perhaps even have a deep disdain for her person; it remains vitally important that your children do not feel as though you have bitterness or an egregious hostility towards her. Why? Children often feel as though they are a mirror of the objectified person. Thus, they may get an impression that you also objectify them when they make an error or grave mistake.
QUALITY AND QUANTITY TIME
“I love every minute of fatherhood, staying up all night, changing nappies, kids crying, I find it really funny and inspiring. It connects you to the world in a new way.”
~ Elton John
“Rabbi Shmuley says children who are neglected by their parents—despite their parents’ best intentions—grow up to feel insignificant, insecure, unloved and—more than anything else—angry. To make children feel important, loved and safe, parents should be physically and emotionally available to their children for a few hours every day, which he calls ‘quantity time.’” (Oprah, 2014, Online)
As a clinician, I have a bit of a different take. Professionally, I have discovered that it is both a combination of time, plus the quality of the time being exerted. Therefore, it is a combination of the amount of time dispensed, as well as, the “quality” of the time being offered. As a father, I could offer countless hours, but waste the time I intend on spending with my children watching television, sleeping, or on a project removing myself from my children.
FORGIVE AND FORGET, MOVING FORWARD
“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.”
~ Sigmund Freud
Forgiveness is key! Forgiveness is essential! Forgiveness is necessary! Forgiveness is freeing!
As fathers, practice a constant spirit of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven. As a father, it is the purposeful act of removing whatever has occurred from your mind. When we forgive, we have scars to remind of us the wound, but a scar is only the mark left not the act or deed committed. Forgiveness is capable of freeing your mind of the matter and allowing you to move forward with life. Furthermore, it allows all others involved the right and freedom to move forward as well.
DISCIPLINE WITH UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
“What I love most about fatherhood is the opportunity to be a part of the development process of a new life.”
Always be certain to employ an unconditional spirit of love with discipline. If you are forced to discipline, do it in a manner that is respectful, dignified, and loving. As a father, you may ask your child to participate in his or her discipline, rather than disciplining with an iron fist. A father does not have to “use the rod” to discipline a child. In fact, we should remove the word discipline from our vocabulary, replacing it with the guidance. If we are guiding our children, we are offering positive advice and/or information that is aimed at resolving a problem or personal challenge.
“Nothing I’ve ever done has given me more joys and rewards than being a father to my children.”
~ Bill Cosby
As a father, do not fear being limited in your information. Do everything you can to gain information, knowledge, skills, and sound facts. All human beings are limited as parents; thus it does take a village to raise a child.
“Fatherhood is the most amazing thing that could ever have happened in my life.”
~ Corey Feldman
As a father, have an attitude of diligence and a desire to be punctilious. Fatherhood is a directional role, thus we should be guiding in a way that inspires others to follow positive pathways. If I am acting in a conscientious way, then I will have a deep desire and heartfelt yearning to do that which is right.
PLAY – BE ACTIVE TOGETHER
“Being a father, being a friend, those are the things that make me feel successful.”
~ William Hurt
As fathers, we should have a desire to be active participants in our children’s lives. The particulars behind being active may vary depending upon the father. Nevertheless, being active implies that we are engaging, or ready to engage, in a specific pursuit. I may be an active scholar with my child, while the next fellow is an active outdoorsman. Whatever the pursuit, be active and diligent to show care and conscientiousness when engaging your child. Likewise, be certain that your activity is engulfed with positive and constructive pursuits.
“The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.”
~ Brian Tracy
As a father, unconditional love flows both ways. If I love my child and do not have the same love for my own being; my child will drawn upon the self-deprecating aspect of my love. However, if I love myself unconditionally, then I will have an internal peace that passes all understanding. My personal love should never be selfish, self-centered, or greedy, rather it is the type of love that is selfless, self-sacrificing, and concerned more with the needs and wishes of another. Unconditional love sees beyond our failures and our successes. If we have unconditional love for another, then we place “NO” conditions upon our relationship. Conditional love is subject to one or more conditions and it requires that they be met or maintained. Whereas, unconditional love is not subject to any condition. Unconditional love is the ultimate form of love, because it loves beyond the good and the bad, our successes and failures, it loves because of who we are and not the deeds or acts that we commit. (Brown, 2008)
Authors: Asa Don Brown, Ph.D., C.C.C., N.C.C.M.
Brown, A. D. (2008) The effects of childhood trauma on adult perception and worldview. Minneapolis, MN: Capella University, Proquest LLC; 154 pages; AAT 3297512
Oprah (2014) The myth of “quality time”. Retrieved February 2, 2014 from http://www.oprah.com/oprahradio/The-Myth-of-Quality-Time
Perry, A. R. (2012) Man up: Integrating fatherhood and community engagement. Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship. 4 (1) Retrieved February 2, 2014 from http://jces.ua.edu/man-up-integrating-fatherhood-and-community-engagement/
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA