So Very Clever Daddies- This is For YOU
Happy Father’s Day, So Very Clever Daddies. What a great honor you have, and I hope you are being acknowledged today. I guess that is what I want to query. Do holidays make us lazy? Shouldn’t we be acknowledging our parents, spouses and children year round?Must we orchestrate some lavish party on the birthday to make up for our failings of the year past? I think I am going to vow, here and now, to be far more intentional in my every day.
I’m going to let the people in my life know the immense value they bring to it, and my own fathers are a huge part of the agenda. There was a time I thought having both a biological father and a stepfather was a curse brought down upon my house- it didn’t take me too long to realize it was a gift. Maybe some girls need two fathers.
Today is a celebration of fathers and it shouldn’t be empty or hollow- imagine the vast responsibility a man takes on when he determines to become a father. I’m not talking about having sex with a woman and accidentally having a child- but the thought process he goes through in coming to the decision he is going to be a part of that child’s life. This is how you become and continue to be a father.
No matter at what point in the game a man commits to being an involved and poignant influence on a child, that moment will define the rest of his life. I’d like to spin a yarn (a fantasy if you will). In this fantasy- the woman presents her husband with a gift-wrapped box. Inside of it is a pregnancy test reading positive. When he looks at this woman, his wife, she changes completely. Inside her womb she now carries a part of him- she is a mother- and along with her he embraces the transformation about to take place.
She is no longer as “capable” in his eyes, she is to be taken care of- from what she puts into her mouth, to making sure she is comfortable, holding her hair back when she is experiencing morning sickness, making sure the room is entirely dark when the migraines begin, attending doctor appointments, shedding tears at the first sound of the baby’s heart, being patient and even amused by the unfathomable mood swings and emotion swelling along with her belly, not only attending but researching and suggesting parenting classes, initiating discussions regarding schooling, religious upbringing and parenting, appreciating the changes in her body and reassuring her it will take no time to get back to her fighting weight (keeping private fears pertaining to the changes in her body private). She is no longer just your wife, your best friend, your lover, your confidant, your counselor and advisor- she is the mother of YOUR child.
No longer will you simply be evaluated or appreciated for who you are as a man, a friend, a son, a brother, an employee, an employer, a nephew, a mentor, a lover, a husband- you are a father and were the moment you committed yourself.
The enormity of the obligation and responsibility settles over each man differently. There is much fear and trepidation along with unmitigated excitement and joy. Embrace it all- every day of your fatherhood. While it’s difficult to comprehend the fathomless moral imperative- it can be broken down to a few words.
TIME. LOVE. RESPECT. KINDNESS. COMPASSION. GUIDE. TEACH. PROTECT.PREPARE. DISCIPLINE.
Each moment you spend with your child, offer them eye contact. It’s not enough to be there- they know if you are engaged or not.
The respect you have for the person your child will become will create a foundation of respect they learn to have for themselves and others as they navigate on their own.
All children deserve kindness in all aspects of parenting.
To acknowledge a child as a person with feelings, emotions and needs is how you show compassion. It’s OK to say “I understand that you are upset because you can not have …”When they know you recognize their feelings, they feel validated.
There will be no greater influence in your child’s life than you as one half of the parenting partnership. Take it seriously and pour your life experiences into the teachings you can offer. This will prepare them for life.
Don’t be afraid to be unpopular. Do not shift the burden of discipline onto your wife. It’s unfair. When you committed to becoming a parent- you agreed to be a comprehensive influence in your child’s life. This obligation does not stop at discipline. Discipline is critical to a child’s development and helps to establish boundaries and structure.
The two most valuable aspects of parenting are LOVE and PROTECTION. Everyone defines love differently- the most important aspect of which is that your child feels love. As far as protection? You are the first line of defense for your little ones- this is the greatest role you will play- protector. And there is So Very much to protect your children from.
I’m afraid my feelings regarding discipline and protection will require two individual posts in upcoming weeks.
I need to pick up where I left off on the wedding planning tips. As I mentioned- I’m working on “So Very Clever Groom’s Guide to Surviving the Wedding Planning.” I’ve shared some of the content on Clever and appreciate your feedback.
I’m thinking of offering an incentive to readers. Refer me, readers, and I will photograph your wedding or the wedding of your choice (sister, mother, friend). This would be a “contest” valid in the continental U.S. for a wedding that would take place before Dec. 31, 2010. The contest would last only one month so you’d have to be So Very Clever sending readers to Clever.
OK- that’s it for me. Happy Father’s Day to the So Very Clever Daddies. Keep up the critical work you are doing, loving intentionally and with purpose.