Being Dad: Communication

It is hard for men to be open about themselves and about their deepest thoughts regarding life and living. Exposing one’s thoughts takes courage knowing you become open to criticism, and that strikes fear in a man’s heart. Being manly and tough means “keep your thoughts to yourself or be a girlish chump.” Nothing could be further from the truth. People who had a communicating father recall his strength of character, how they could tell their dad anything without hearing a lecture, followed by discipline. With a father that is closed minded toward a child’s hurts or hang-ups, the child hides their feelings, knowing relating them to him will bring scorn and ridicule, not love and understanding. The ability to communicate to their child is a quality to be desired as a father…and it is learned behavior.

How I have arrived at these conclusions about fathers has come through personal experience, careful observation, and above all, through truths like these:
“My child, listen when your father corrects you, don’t neglect your mothers instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace, and be a chain of honor around your neck.”
“My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom and concentrate on understanding.”
“My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store up my commands within your heart. If you do this, you will live many years and your life will be satisfying,” Prov. 1:8-9, 2:1-2, 3:1-2 NLT

When my daughter was in her most crucial time in her life, and needed her dad the most, my mind was closed completely. Her decisions were unguided by good counsel, but by an opinionated alcoholic, that was not mature enough to give G.O.D. to her. (good orderly direction) Fortunately, God had his hand on her life. In time, He worked things together for good, yet for a time, she struggled without dad’s help, all alone.

I have personally observed others my age that had an active father in their life. Many of these people were not religious, but had a religious manner of communicating to their children. The behavior of my peers with the active parents, was that of drugs and alcohol is taboo, pre-marital sex is wrong, and college is a must. Those whose parents were religious, most of these, not all, married, had children, and today are still together after all of these years. I had communicating parents, but didn’t listen. I was more set on rebellion, the price was costly, and I paid it.

Being a father is being a leader. Communicating with actions is nearly important as words. For a child to see their father bow his head in prayer, shed a tear in sorrow, belly laugh when something goes wrong, can have a heavy impression. Words themselves, reveal the heart of a father. For father to encourage his children by his honest evaluation, without belittlement, will steer the children in the right direction. Encouragement can only be effective with honesty.

To lie to a child by telling them they are better than other kids, to defend their wrong doing by making excuses, are destructive when the child discovers truth…if they ever do. This method is a lazy father’s teaching technics. Tearing a child down by comparing them to siblings or other kids their age is even worse.

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” Eph.6:4 NLT

Many young men are fathers way too early in life. Before they have any understanding on how to live themselves, let alone provide for a family, they have one. Society today dictates marriage isn’t necessary, commitment can come down the road. A child born into this world with parents having no direction can only cause a new generation of non-communicating, or dysfunctional families. Encourage those soon-to-be dads. Ask them pertinent questions about being dad. Don’t aggravate or discourage them with “you knew better” wisdom. They may have known better, being a dad requires understanding and teach-ability, not ridicule. If you feel you failed with fatherhood in the past, communicate that to the new fathers, and amend past errors.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

Being Dad

Father’s Day is coming up this Sunday. I wanted to write a little about being a father. Since I am a father, I would like to share my experiences and observances of something I have done poorly at times, and okay at others, but never have done with perfection.

Fatherhood is viewed by people from various sources, many getting their views of “dear old dad” from sitcoms and TV dramas these days. When I was younger, TV made dad somewhat human, respected by the entire family. Father Knows Best, Andy Griffith, The Donna Reed Show, and later Cosby, all viewed father as a leader, wise, understanding, and a real household leader. In recent TV shows, dad is the household idiot, kids treat him with disrespect, mom leads the home and has the wisdom and understanding. Family Guy, The Simpsons, and many others, pervert and discount the role of the father in the home, as though the father doesn’t matter. Dads really matter.

“America used to live by the motto, “Father Knows Best.” Now we’re lucky if father knows he has children. We have become a nation of sperm donors and “baby daddies.” Stephen Colbert

“Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating…too often fathers neglect it because they get so caught up in making a living, they forget to make a life.” John Wooden

“My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” Clarence Budington Kelland

Fathers lead. They lead by example, by instruction, and by attitude. That responsibility is the greatest of responsibilities for any man who has sired offspring since the dawn of time. The first and most important lesson a father teaches his children is commitment. By being committed to the children’s mother brings a sense of great security to a child, knowing mom and dad is there. Being committed to faith in God gives a child a sense of direction in life. Being committed to providing for the household gives the child a sense of obligation to do the same as they reach adulthood, and start their family.

Unfortunately, commitment defined this way seems more like a “pipe dream” of an overly-religious person, but that is not the case at all. Some have actually experienced having a father in their home, that is committed and communicating after this manner. How they reached this understanding was from the instruction in their own home, being taught the importance of teaching their little ones with diligence. From the time a young boy reaches an ability to understand, he should be taught about being a father. Many, if not most of the societal woes we experience in our world come from fathers that know nothing about being a father, and completely unconcerned about learning about this monumental responsibility. Sons become just like their dad, whether dad actually raises their child, or just provides the seed, and disappears. Some never know their father and still turn out like him.

Over the next couple of days, I want to write about my experience as a father, and my observances of fathers that have, or are developing good and bad behaviors, affecting the future of their home, and enhancing or destroying their marriage and children’s lives. Over ninety percent of inmates in prison today had no father in their lives. Their sense of right and wrong came from the streets, from media outlets like movies, TV, and gaming. They have little or no sense of spirituality, and every small good they perform, mothers tend to over-praise them to compensate for dad’s neglect. With over-inflated egos, and no understanding of a God they have to answer to for evil they do to others, without values about right or wrong living, prison and or substance abuse tends to be the normal way of life. Tragic.

There is a better way. More to come. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.