~ William Goldman, The Princess Bride
First of all, I am a hopeless romantic. On August 16, 2012, I will have the pleasure of celebrating my 15th wedding anniversary to my beautiful bride, my vulpine lover, my best friend, and the mother of my precocious, charming, and sometimes mischievous children.
During the past 15 years, I have spent countless days gaining new insights into this person that I have come to know as my wife. Do not get me wrong, we have had our emotional upheavals and times of trials and tribulations, but overall, my wife is unmistakably my best-friend.
How do we translate the emotional maturity that develops through our relationship unto the lives of our own children? Is it possible? Is it naive to think that we can prove positive role models for our own children? Furthermore, is it showing a lack of experience, wisdom, or judgement to think, or even consider, that “I,” Dr. Asa Don Brown can positively influence the role of a father and husband? Of course, as a doctor of psychology, I should be capable of instilling the utmost respect of self, personhood, values, ethics, and morals. Please note, that I am being sarcastic. I am not looking to mock nor convey contempt, rather to express that “I too” am concerned about the influence that I may have upon the precious minds and lives of my remarkable children.
In fact, I value the lives of my children over life itself. Thus, how do I, as a father positively influence the direction with which my children choose a mate? I know it is not popular to expose ourselves as practitioners, but I would be regretful for not expressing my own personal concern about the precious lives that have been granted unto me. For I am a mere teacher in their lives, not a commander.
TEACHING IS NOT COMMANDING
As a child, and especially within our youth, we are not seeking the influence of a dictator, a director, a commander, or an authoritarian instructor; rather, we are simply looking for the respect and positive guidance of an unconditionally loving and accepting parent.
Parents are not perfect. Parents make mistakes. Nor are spouses perfect, and believe me, we do make our share of mistakes. Fortunately, mistakes are not roadblocks preventing us from possibility or growth, rather, they are imploring us to leap this hurdle unto greater maturity and self-awareness. Moreover, even the greatest of obstacles can be overcome.
As parents, those who succeed are often the ones who are willing to learn. Not unlike the best schoolroom teachers, parents should constantly be seeking guidance, instruction, and wisdom. We are not lone vessels upon the sea, rather we are a community capable of sharing and learning from one another.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING A GOOD FATHER
It is easy to be a bad parent. It is a mere challenge to prove a positive influence on the life of a child. As a father, I have an obligation, a fiduciary duty to positively guide, influence, and protect my children. As a father, I will be the only guide that offers such intimate male instruction. If I, Asa Don Brown influence my children in a negative way, then I will assuredly teach my children to expect the same throughout their precious lives. Whereas, if I, Asa Don Brown make a conscience decision to be a positive influence, then I can hope for the best outcome in the lives of my children.
The importance of being a good parent allows for error. Why are we so concerned about making mistakes? Why are we afraid of failure? If I fail, then I have a guidepost, indicating the areas with which I can improve. Failure has become the barometer of negativity, rather than a potential of opportunity. Without failure, we could not relish in the achievement of our successes. As a good parent, we should teach our children that failure is an opportunity for improvement and growth, rather than a blockade deterring us from our greatest potential.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING A GOOD HUSBAND
The importance of being a good husband, is that I am teaching my daughters what to expect or not expect from their future spouses. If I am in a loveless or disastrous marriage, then I am teaching my children that they too should expect nothing less. Whereas, if I am in a marriage filled with unconditional respect, dignity, love and humility, then I am teaching my children to expect more.
THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE OF BEING A GOOD PARENT AND SPOUSE
As a husband, as well as a parent, I should carry the Olympic Spirit within my being. What does it mean to carry the Olympic Spirit as a father or a husband? Recently, I had an opportunity to watch our global community band together, playing extraordinary games, accomplishing feats of incredible courage, skill and strength. On the official website for the Olympic Movement (http://www.olympic.org/) they describe a number of Fundamental Principles of Olympism. Unfortunately, I cannot offer the entire list, however I would like to transform the 1st Principle as being the Fundamental Principle of Being a Good Parent and Spouse.
“Olympism (Parenting and Marriage) is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport (Parenting and Marriage) with culture and education, Olympism (Parenting and Marriage) seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.” (IOC, 2012, Online)
For me, The Fundamental Principle of Being a Good Parent and Spouse, is having an internal ability of recognizing that our weakness and strengths are mere landmarks in life, not an indicator of our personality or worth. Furthermore, The Fundamental Principle of Being a Good Parent and Spouse, is having a spirit of unconditional love, trust, respect, dignity, caring, and hope. It is the knowledge that we will fail and succeed, but that our worth is not based on our failures or successes. For who we are, is greater than our level of obtainment or achievement, or of failure or loss. For who we are is a person deserving of love, forgiveness, respect, dignity, and loyalty. If I, establish these principles in my home, then I have a chance to prove a positive role in the life of my children.
Author: Dr. Asa Don Brown, Ph.D., C.C.C.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA