Depending on how you were raised and what kind of a dad you had growing up plays a big part in the kind of dad you become. But even if you did not have a great example in your own dad it does not mean that you can not learn and grow when you become a dad. Love is actually the key in being a great dad, even when you do not know what you are doing.
Change is hard so most of us just learn to live with who we have become by the time we get into our twenties and thirties. But change is not impossible and the love we have for our children can make it highly probable. Every generation can get better incrementally if we start to make changes. And even if we are not the perfect dad our children will respond to us if we let them into our lives and let them know we are trying.
We as men tend to think that if we share a shortcoming we are admitting we are not strong. We think we are opening ourselves up for disrespect from our kids. The truth is that they just want to be a part of your life and know that they are held in high esteem in your heart. Many times when we as men feel inadequate and we do not share these things with our families and they blame themselves. They feel that if they were just a better kid or wife that you would love them more. If they only knew how you were really feeling it would heal many hearts and bring a bond between you that would actually strengthen your presence in the family.
You may not be a man of many words but whatever words you have, your children need to hear. As men we seem to think that bringing home the paycheck is what we are there for. And that is a great security factor in the lives of our family but children do not really understand too much about finances. They need a relationship with their dad.
Boys and girls alike really need their dads. Girls see themselves through their daddy’s eyes and get their worth from what they see and hear. If you want your girls to demand respect from their suitors then they need to see the love and respect from their dads. If they feel worthless in your eyes then they will accept whatever kind of treatment they get from other men. This leads them down a dark and ugly path of broken relationships and heartache. They not only get their worth from how you treat them but how they see you treat their mother.
Boys find their worth in the dad as well and gather information about how to become and be a man. If we sit back and take a really good look at what we are teaching them, is it something we are proud of? I think many man believe that if they just go to work and come home they are doing their families a service and often in the scope of things going on in the world today, that may be true. But merely being the bread winner does not teach our sons anything except to perhaps work. But that is not even so if we hand them everything on a silver platter without teaching them the value of work themselves.
Think about the reasons you are the way you are as a man. What did your own dad teach you? If he was an absentee father or a workaholic, did you learn anything of value? If he did not participate in your life on a one on one basis did you suffer because of it? Many times we as men shut our feelings down because we feel having feelings is not manly. To be a man means that you are hardened and cold to the softer things in life. That is often the easy way out for men. The harder path would be to deal with our feelings and let the family in on our feelings. You would probably be surprised at the welcomed smiles on the faces of your children hearing you share your heart.
Children need security in a home and stability in finances but much more than that they need a relationship with their parents. But most often it is the dad that steps back and allows the mom to do all those touchy feely things with the kids. But, and I am speaking from experience, they need those touchy feely things from dad as well. They do not have to be mushy and sugar coated, just sincere and from the heart. They are hungry for your love and will take whatever you can muster up in the way of attention. Pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones just a tiny bit at a time will serve to fill their empty hearts for quite a while. They just want to know you because you are their very own dad; they want to belong to you even if you are not perfect.
This whole article may be too touchy feely for some of you dads and I apologize. But as I look around at the lost children in the world today I realize that if only for the slightest emotion, the slightest recognition, or the slightest touch of a father’s hand, these children could be saved. Moms have their roles but they can not be both mother and father to these children. If mothers do not do their jobs there are many other mothers that will step in to do the nurturing. But when dads fall down on the job there are not a lot of options. There are not many men waiting in the sidelines to take up the slack for absentee dads. Sad but true.
I know this because I attend a church where the single mothers are crying out for men to take a godly role in the lives of their children, especially the young men. And it is nearly impossible to find someone who has the heart or the time. And I can fully understand this because we as men do have jobs and responsibilities for our own children. But if there were more men willing to step out of their comfort zones, especially in the retired sector, the boys would be clamoring for their love and attention. It would take only one word from a strong and loving man to these lost boys and girls and it would be akin to the following of the Pied Piper.
I urge fathers to step up and move out of their comfort zones to meet the needs of their own children and those of children without fathers. The results will amaze you, and believe it or not, it will serve to make life easier, not complicate it. Your children will respect you and admire you and hold you in high esteem. They will grow into emotionally whole people merely because they know you.