“The soul is healed by being with children.”
~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky
I was completely unaware of the absolute beauty of life until I became a father. Fatherhood has opened my eyes beyond my own imagination. As a father, I have learned more about myself, life, and the meaning of life; simply by viewing the physical beings gifted unto me. Children are the window to our futures and a beacon of light in a sometimes dark world.
As a father, I have learned to appreciate each moment that I am granted to spend with my children. Whether they are happy or sad, full of energy or laying down for a nap; I am amazed by the life that radiates out of their little bodies.
“With children the clock is reset. We forget what came before”
~ Jhumpa Lahiri
As a father, we need to actively listen to our children. Fathers who actively listen will be the recipients of an unbelievable education, going well beyond one’s wildest of dreams. The gift of a child goes well beyond that most descriptive of words. Children are the essence of life. They are capable of proving resilient in the most troubling of times, and rebounding from the greatest of falls. They have an ability of bringing a smile on the gloomiest of faces. It is awesome how the very life of a child is capable of resetting our thought patterns, our mindsets, and our very outlook upon the world. The gift of a child is capable of completely changing our worldview and perceptions of life.
“Having a child is surely the most beautifully irrational act that two people in love can commit.”
~ Bill Cosby
Active listening is an essential ingredient to understanding any relationship. 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 parent, we must be purposeful in our active listening. An active listener is purposeful in his or her actions, reflections, and all forms of communications. Active listening shows that you care, have empathy, and are completely interested in another person.
“In addition, listening or speaking without being defensive helps to counter several destructive habits. (If you are a) non-defensive listener, chances are it will make the cycle of negativity much less likely… Letting your spouse know that you understand him or her is the most powerful tools for healing your relationship.” (Gottman & Silver, 2012, Online)
ALLOWING THE CHANGE
“When you’re feeling overwhelmed, make a deliberate effort to calm yourself.”
~ John Gottman
Avoiding responsibility will create barriers and build up walls of rejection. Always accept that with which you are responsible for, and never accept responsibility for someone else’s mistakes. You are ultimately the master and commander of your life. Therefore be in charge and willing to accept the rights and wrongs that occur in your life. Accept both your own and your partner’s strengths and weaknesses.
FOCUS ON THE GOOD OF THE CHILD
“Always focus on the front of windshield and not the review mirror.”
~ Colin Powell
Children are not perfect vessels traveling through life, but within their own imperfections the beauty shines through. We ought not to look at the mistakes, mishaps, and challenges of our children, rather focus your minds on the magnificence of the individual developing. Remember, all children, as well as all adults, are bound to make mistakes throughout their life. Children are creatures maturing into adulthood, thus we ought to help guide these beings towards becoming the best adults imaginable. As children, we susceptible to the good and the bad that our parents project. What are you projecting into the life of your child?
QUALITY AND QUANTITY TIME
“Where there is love, there is life”
As a clinician, I have a bit of a different take. Professionally, it is undoubtedly apparent that to achieve a “healthy” relationship requires a combination of the amount of time dispensed, plus the quality of the time being exerted. I have heard countless tales about children feeling exacerbated, frustrated, challenged, and unfulfilled within their roles as a child. It is of the utmost importance that each member of the family feels important in the family nucleus.
When children, or family members, feel unimportant it is frequently linked to breach in communications. The most common elements are a lack of communication, neglect of the relationship and the lack of intimacy. All of these elements are encapsulated with the same essential feature; the type of time dispensed and quantity of time being dispensed to resolve problems or aid in the betterment of a relationship.
The typical complaint from my clients/patients is an overall unsatisfactory or unacceptable environment in the home. People most commonly express a lack of cohesiveness in his or her relationships. They will express how their parent or partner is neglectful, lacking in compassion, and has an inability to commit to the relationship. Simply put, there is a lack of forming a united whole.
They will make statements such as: “my parents choose to spend more time with their friends than they do with me.” “I feel neglected, unimportant, and without merit.” “My mother is so focused on her career that I feel like a fixture in her room of life.” “My father insists that I be a pure reflection of him, but leads through an iron fist rather than a tender heart.” “I have never felt completely connected to my parents.”
If your desire is to achieve a complete failure within a relationship, then be certain to neglect your child and you will achieve the ultimate failure. Relationships are like a fern, ferns need protection, good soil, sunlight, nutrients and ultimatum environmental conditions. Therefore, you must gently care and offer support, compassion, and protection to the life of your child. While every person and relationship may differ in its overall makeup, all relationships require active participation, commitment, and time.
“Conscientious people are apt to see their duty in that which is the most painful”
~ George Elliot
Have an attitude of diligence and a desire to be punctilious. Relationships occur through a directional role, thus we should be guiding in a way that inspires others to follow in our positive pathways. If you are acting in a conscientious way, then you will have a deep desire and heartfelt yearning to do that which is right.
PROVE AN ACTIVE PARTICIPANT
“The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.”
~ Brian Tracy
Parents should have a habit of active participation. Active participation empowers active communication, without such there is limited interaction. The particulars behind being active may vary depending upon the family. Nevertheless, being active implies that we are engaging, or ready to engage, in a specific pursuit. I may be an active scholar with my family, while the next fellow is an active outdoorsman. Whatever the pursuit, be active and diligent to show care and conscientiousness when engaging your family. Likewise, be certain that your activity is engulfed with positive and constructive pursuits. Do not expect each of your family members to share in the same goals, but learn to share in the happiness of goals achieved by each member of your family.
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
~ Albert Einstein
- Be physical active with your children
- Purposeful seek ways to converse daily with your children
- Read often to your children
- Discover ways to be imaginative
- Avoid negative communications, rather replace them with constructive and healthy communications.
- Always seek ways to positively edify the life of your child.
- Be diligent to show care, empathy, and a conscientiousness in your parental role.
- Most importantly, have an unconditional spirit towards yourself, as well as the lives of your children. Seek to always forgive, accept, approve, and love. Unconditional love must start within before it can be projected forward.
Authors: Asa Don Brown, Ph.D., C.C.C., N.C.C.M.
Gottman, J. & Silver, N. (2012) What makes marriage work? Retrieved April 20, 2014 from http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200910/what-makes-marriage-work
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA