Fatherhood takes on a whole new meaning when you become one yourself. My dad was a provider, hard worker, and well respected for his character and integrity. I hope I am considered all those as well, but a good man should be considered those even without being a dad. I am learning that being dad is WAY more than that. Being dad means that, in many cases, you were responsible for creating another being; a being in which you now have the responsibility to raise, nurture and influence. Being dad is complicated.
Fear not, this is not some attempt to provide 10 steps to being a good dad. I have found those to be great supplemental tools for the tool bag, but let’s face it, all children are different and require a different 10 step plan to being a good dad. Instead, I wanted to liberate dads from themselves this Father’s Day and suggest one idea that will likely radically change your daddy status, but also and just as importantly save you from the monotony of life.
One of my sons happens to be a spirited fellow. This doesn’t surprise me at all, my wife and I are both spirited ourselves. This wonderful quality manifests itself in extremes. Everything is crazy high, or crazy low! It’s challenging at times as a parent. Although we are still in the early stages of parenthood, we are finding the incredible importance of freedom. I’m not talking the Bill of Rights freedom, for which I’m very grateful for. Rather, I am speaking of the freedom of distraction. The freedom of spontaneity. Best yet, the freedom to be wild.
It pains me to see so many youngsters immersing themselves in ‘gaming’, whatever that is. I get it, we live in the digital age. Gaming and electronics has positioned itself to be a very important part of almost all of our lives. I, like you, carry a device in my pocket that allows me to work from anywhere, communicate from anywhere, and be available to others all the time. It’s pretty challenging to put this device away, but if we can’t how can we expect our children to? This is a big distraction. It’s hardly the only one, but one that we have more control of than we realize. The freedom from distraction allows you to invest in intentional, authentic conversations and significant quality time with your kids. If your career requires a lot of time, that’s understandable. Different jobs have different demands. However, when you have those few precious minutes, liberate yourself from the bondage of the digital age and have the freedom to invest solely with your kids.
I receive so much joy in spontaneity with my sons. On the one hand, my oldest likes to know what’s going on, but I mean creative spontaneity such as building a couch fort, ‘fixing’ your car, letting them choose what we eat for dinner. It’s funny, that some of my frustrations with raising my own son is his lack of flexibility or ability to go with the flow. I get frustrated when he’s unable to play by rules, spend quality time the way I want to. I have to give myself the freedom to just go with the flow. Be goofy, be creative, be spontaneous. Not only does the overwhelming issues of adult life melt away in those moments, but they are moments that incredibly impact your children.
One more idea on freedom, the freedom to be wild. This is more for personal growth as a man than anything else, but it makes dividends in fatherhood in the freedom of being your truest self. In most work places, there is an expected culture for how to measure up. Many I have talked with confess feeling they must be or act a certain way to move up the ladder of success. I myself have experienced this. I think our culture is moving us to be, act, and believe a certain way. But, as I mentioned above, all children are different, each of us are different and we should have the freedom to be our wildest, most purest self as possible. The liberation from pseudo political correctness or other entities expecting conformity to a particular life style only damages our own understanding of self, and also our ability to raise, nurture, and influence our little ones.
Dads, you’re awesome. You’re most awesome when you are FREE to be your truest self. Your best you, is you. Not Bob from down the street, or your co-worker Steve—your wildest and most true you. Liberate yourself and your kids from unnecessary distraction. Find freedom in spontaneity and creativity. Give up what you want and do more of what they want. Be wild. Rise up the inner super Dad and let it radically impact the lives of your kids. You are super, after all. #TackleLife
Happy Fathers Day!