#Challenge: I’ve heard it said that we don’t love someone because of who they are, but in spite of who they are. Think about the people who truly love you – isn’t it so? Dads tend to be task oriented, results focused. We have to be careful though. Our gender sometimes causes us to focus on the performance of our children. If your love appears to be a conditional, because of kind of love what happens when your child falls short of expectations? Does your love go away?
#HeadGear: My dad was a very smart man. He was a preacher in his 20s, 30s, and 40s and then, due to the same hearing problems I have, he was a carpenter the rest of his life. He was an avid reader and could cipher the pitch of a roof in a flash, but he never got bogged down in paperwork and administrative things. On one visit to Mom & Dad’s, I realized how far apart our work-a-day worlds were. In my 20s, I managed a $5million advertising agency / film production company. During the visit, I reviewed a hundred or so pages of monthly General Ledger entries for the company as Dad sat in his designated DadChair and just shook his head. I couldn’t have been doing anything more foreign to him.
I thought of that scene this week when my musician son handed me a page of new song lyrics. No, I didn’t think of that scene, I relived that scene… only now I was my dad and my son was me. The lyrics were very well written and came from a place of passion within him, but “I don’t do poetry”. I don’t get the allegory and metaphor of it all. Just sing “boom goes the dynamite” and be done with it.
In my sleep that night, I worked out “It’s not about the process, it’s about the product.” Waking up, I knew I wasn’t there yet. “It’s about the producer.” When I got in my car with my General Ledger and drove away from my parents’ West Texas home, they didn’t say to each other, “There goes our little business manager.” When I read my son’s lyrics, I didn’t think, “Wow, he can sure write some pretty words.” A healthy dad’s view of his children is not anchored in what they accomplish, it’s based on who they are and how they’re working to contribute to the world. People love hearing my son’s band perform the songs he writes. He gives joy, and (somehow) encouragement, to others. I don’t have to understand a single syllable of his lyrics on that paper to be proud of him. I was proud of him when the paper was still blank.
#ManUp: In Championship Fathering, Carey Casey lays out three fundamentals behaviors of a championship dad: loving, coaching, modeling. We’ve got to get that first one right. At Fathers.com there is a great section of resources on how to work on your Loving skills. Please scan the list of articles and continue growing as the Loving Dad your child needs. While you’re at it, let’s hit the practice field and apply this fundamental. What can you do TODAY to affirm your child for the person they are, not just for what they do? A purposeful conversation or a handwritten note would go a long way toward expressing real love. Or you could go to a rock concert. Hmmm… where did I put my notecards?
#SoundOff: Loving Dads, how do you get it done? What act of affirmation have you found meaningful to your child. Pipe up on Facebook or leave a comment here. I’d love to know what works for you.