Fathers are larger than life. When children are lucky, Dad is a magical figure. He is a protector and has a way of fixing things. When we are young we literally ride on his shoulders and we figuratively continue to do so throughout our lives. Our father’s interests peek our curiosity and our interests become their hobbies. In the year 2013 when so many families include two working parents, I am glad to hear when mothers commiserate about their husbands being the fun ones in the eyes of their children. Every child deserves that fun parent and that hero.
From observing our fathers, or anyone so central in our lives, we learn about power and how to navigate the complications of life. Children, particularly young ones, watch their father’s every move. Children learn to be steadfast, loyal, hardworking & family centered from fathers who demonstrate those traits and values. They can also learn to be respectful, fair, forgiving and empathetic from their fathers. Every so often, we all need to consider if we are intentionally parenting. We need to think about the specific lessons we want our children to learn and if we are doing all we can to teach them. Gender stereotypes can, even in 2013, make fathers leery of showing too much emotion or admitting when they are not entirely in control of a situation. I have two sons. I want them to know it is acceptable to feel whatever emotions they feel and to sometimes need to regroup & start again. They cannot only learn that from one person in a household that includes two role models. They have to see that my husband is sometimes sad, sometimes scared or sometimes unsure. It is a common human experience to have a variety of emotions and express them. That experience belongs to both genders – to men and women, to Mom and Dad. When they watch their father cope with what comes along, they learn that their emotions have validity and they can cope too. Children will be more emotionally healthy when both parents are genuine about what they feel.
The job of parents – both mothers and fathers – is to foster the growth of independent and capable adults. I don’t believe for one moment that it is easier for fathers to watch their children grow up and separate from us. It is essential that fathers take the time to consider their unique place in their children’s lives and how that role can be a basis for teaching the life lessons that our children need to learn before venturing off on their own. From my father, I learned to ride a bike, swim, try to right what is wrong, do for others, work hard and laugh at the absurdities of life. What did you learn from yours? On this Father’s Day, take a moment to consider gifts of knowledge can you give to your children.
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Copyright 2013 © Cindy Terebush
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