Most of the time, daddies approach the parenting task differently from the moms, or in some cases, they don’t approach it at all.
Teaching has given me the privilege to get to know a lot of dads–cool dads, know-it-all dads, indulgent dads, single dads, absentee dads, gay dads, expat dads-they come in all types. Some are so adorable you’d want to keep them forever while a few play their role to the hilt which is simply to get into many teachers’ nerves!
Once, during a family day in school, a father was struggling to pacify his toddler son who was throwing tantrums in the middle of the games. He irately grabbed the boy by the arm, spanked him and pulled him towards the mother saying, “Tell your son to shut up!” I thought to myself, isn’t the little boy his son as much his wife’s? It will be a relief for his wife and a blessing to his family if he could help in the training of his own son and share in the burdens as well as the joys of parenting.
Just how much influence do daddies exert on the lives of their own children? As there are great fathers, there too are fathers who miss the point of fatherhood. There are those who spend more time training their pet dogs than their children. There are those who spend more on car maintenance than on child maintenance. There are those who find more pleasure in hanging out with the boys than in personal bonding with their own children. I feel sorry for these fathers who have tame and well-behaved dogs but wild and confused children! Cars with top-quality engines but children with worn-out shoes! Great rapport with friends but a great wall of reserve between him and his children!
I have also met fathers who need lessons on kindly manners toward his wife and children. These helpless family members suffer more than he can know with his temper outbursts and boorish mentality. Wives and children in any home have the right to courteous and fair treatment despite their wrongdoings. So sad, for I know these dads love their wives and children yet they continue to howl or pound at them and the longer he learns to control his irritation and anger, the more he suffers great loss!
While I deal with young children, I know these little tots will not always remain young. Until they reach their early teens, they may still be more under the influence of their mothers but soon after, the companionship and influence of their fathers will prove to be a great power in their lives. Will he be remembered more than just the man who paid the bills? Much is gained when the child can tell others with great respect for his dad, “My father says this…”
Daddies, remember that soon your little boy or girl will date, leave home for college, find a job and marry. How do you think will your child feel when he introduces you to his date, his teachers, his bosses and his future spouse? Will he dread the day or will there be pride and pleasure in having a great father to introduce to his social circle? Happy is the man whose children have no cause to be ashamed of him!
Perhaps, it is not yet time to look that far ahead but you may look to the chance that is before you now. Have you changed your baby’s diapers, fed and burped him, rocked him to sleep and read to him a bedtime story? Have you engaged him in horseplay or carried him on your shoulders so he can see a wider view of the world around him and experience it from the same perspective as yours? Studies have proven time and again that children who experienced all these with their fathers have a greater reservoir of emotional strength helping them deal with stress and frustrations in later life.
A dad may be his children’s best friend or worst enemy. Many years from now, he will be proven a worthy or an unworthy father by a measure of his love, hard work and unselfishness. He will be attested as a man of fine character or the reverse. He will be praised or condemned for the brand of parenting he has shown. When the time is ripe, who can do all these in all honesty and candor except his own children?
Published in: Family