This Fathers Day, you’ll no doubt see your social media feeds cluttered with long winded accolades for the dads who’ve done it right out there. I applaud them.
I feel that as fathers, men have a great opportunity to raise amazing children who will turn out to be good friends, lovers and inhabitants of planet earth.
I’ve been thinking a lot this week about the men I’ve known who were formed and sometimes damaged, specifically by their fathers/stepfathers. I’ll meet their dads/father figures and eventually I’ll connect the dots and see where some of their not so nice behaviors originated. It’s sad.
I wish that I could time travel back and help them when they were stressed out raising their children. I’d teach them meditation and give them the chance to take a deep breath before they unleashed fury on their children.
I’d offer them the option to put down that beer, turn off the television and hug their child so tight that love just poured out of their body.
Instead of instilling anxiety, guilt and shame in their kids, I wish that they’d counted to ten before saying something unkind, or even worse, striking them. Those words will come back in twenty, twenty five years and hurt someone they are in a relationship with.
The recipient of their unkindness will no doubt be wounded and confused as to why the person they love so dearly has just flipped out on them. Then, they too will have to process and see where the hurt originates. More often than not, it’s from dear old dad. Sometimes mom too, but that’s another article.
Here’s a list for all of you dads out there. If you’re already doing a stellar job, congratulations and please keep up the good work.
1. Teach your boys to hold doors open, always. I love when men do this, and as old fashioned as it may seem, it’s one of those little things that just make the world a lot nicer.
2. Teach them put the seat down, please. Men who grow up with sisters are usually all set with this one.
3. Let your kids know that fragile and open are okay; it’s good to discuss their feelings. Foster an environment where your children never feel that they have to hide their emotions from you.
4. Instill a deep appreciation, love for animals and the great outdoors.
Let them learn by your example.
5. Treat the women in your life with dignity and respect. I swear that every man I’ve known whose dad was discourteous to women was also messed up in this department. Do it better.
6. Teach your sons to be generous and patient. Don’t set them up for a life of fear and lack, because that will follow them and it’s hard to shake.
7. Expose them to men who are great; not just athletes, but great thinkers, makers, game changers.
8. Teach your boys to cook and appreciate food. If you don’t know how, take a cooking class with your children. They’ll never forget it and you’ll gain new skills together.
9. Never strike your child. It will only haunt them for their entire life.
10. Improve yourself, invest in yourself and then you won’t feel burdened by the time you need to spend with your children. Take excellent care of you, so that you can be the best dad possible.