Principle #5 – See Your Dad and Mentors Bigger Than They See Themselves

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, stepdads, grandads, and role models. It takes a village to raise children, especially today when we are faced with challenges and uncertainty. So, we celebrate you today for your tireless contribution to raising our next generation.

I think fathers and male role models may be put on the back burner behind mothers and women role models. We recognize the nurturing role of mothers, but many fathers are also nurturing to their children. So, let’s give fathers and male mentors credit for making a difference in children’s lives.

“Every child deserves a champion; an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best they can possibly be.”
– Rita F. Pierson, Ed. D.

Psychologists tell us that having fathers and father figures in children’s lives affects their mental development, which leads to fewer psychological problems. In addition, studies show that children tend to stay in school, have higher IQs, and feel more secure and confident when a father or father figure is in their lives.

Children learn about relationships by watching their fathers, and mothers for that matter. They see their father’s behavior toward their mother and other women. This is so important, especially when abuse is out of control in our society. We, as parents, can break this cycle by teaching our children to handle disagreements calmly, without raised voices, and without violence.

“I think that the only way to teach is by example, as children will more easily follow what they see you do than what you tell them to do.” – Gloria Estefan

I’ve been reflecting on memories of my dad. He had many shortcomings as a father. He was battling his own demons, but I know he did the best he could. There are many traits he passed on to me which make me think of him often. He’s no longer here, but I feel him with me. As time goes on, I remember more of the good times we shared than the negative ones. But I would love to talk to him one more time to discuss some of our different beliefs. I loved him, and I know he loved me too, so I’m happy with that.

My husband has been an awesome father to our two daughters. He will be the first to admit that it can be hard to be a father and that he made mistakes. It’s a role that is learned along the way, but, honestly, no one really knows how to be a parent. Nevertheless, I think he’s done a fantastic job, and I feel very fortunate to have been a partner in raising a family with him.

“Even the best dads make mistakes. But there is no mistaking their love for their children.”
– Unknown

A father doesn’t have to have biological ties. Many blended and divorced families have made it work. And there are grandfathers, teachers, and coaches that have assumed the father figure role. The important thing is connecting and being present in children’s lives.

I have to brag a little about my son-in-law. He married my daughter almost four years ago, even though she had a son. I can’t imagine how difficult it may be to accept another’s child, but he’s done just that. He loves my grandson as his own. I’m sure it’s difficult at times to align parental belief systems when families merge, but they seem to work it out. I’ll forever be grateful to him for loving my daughter and her son.

Children suffer when they don’t have father figures in their lives. So, many grandfathers, uncles, and coaches step into this role. But my favorite story of all time is when a Dallas middle school had a “Breakfast for Dads,” and many children didn’t have engaged dads. So, the school posted on Facebook requesting men as fill-in dads, and 600 men showed up! Best article ever; check it out!

Our fathers and male role models have helped shape our lives. I understand that life gets busy, and sometimes we forget to tell them how important they are. So, as you celebrate Father’s Day this year, take a moment to thank your dad, husband, son, son-in-law, grandpa, uncle, and male role models for their love and support. Have a safe Father’s Day!

Freedom is possible!

Love,
Deb