Fathers in Varied Stages (1 of 5)

I’m thinking over materials I’ve been reading, namely stuff about human development, faith development, and theological perspective. I’m bouncing around suggestions, mostly for myself since I’m trying to trace good notes on things I read that are worth keeping.

I draw in these next posts thoughts together from recent readings of James Fowler and James Loder especially and from the good wisdom of people I’m watching in these various stages of parental development.

Photo Thanks to Ryan McGuire

Photo Thanks to Ryan McGuire

Here is a list of suggestions for fathers (and the people who love them), particularly those between the ages of 20 and 29:

  1. Go home everyday. There’s something wonderful about having your family take for granted that you’ll be home. It’s a discipline, may even be new to you, but it sets the course of what you’ll expect for yourself and what others expect from you. It starts from there.
  2. Take every responsibility you can. There’s nothing like being a custodial parent. I think doing everything related to my son’s care–being able to do everything–gave me opportunity to always have a credible opinion about my son’s care. I know what I’ve experienced with him because I’ve worked for this kid for free.
  3. Participate in the daily ritual. I’ve noticed over the last couple years that my energy toward the evening has waned. I do a good chunk of things in the mornings and by evening, I’m tired. But that daily work of parenting involves all those hours. It’s the mundane way I show that I love the boy.
  4. Read to your children. This is another way that we teach. Another way we model. At this point, Bryce is reading words with us, which makes reading better. But he’s learned to appreciate learning and imagining and taking time through reading.
  5. Tell them when you’re wrong. You’ll get good at pointing out their mistakes. Be as good, as willing, to admit your own wrongs. “I was wrong…” will open your child up to integrity and strength on display.
  6. Reconcile with the un-parented parts of yourself. My spiritual director said to me years ago that we can parent ourselves as we parent our children. That comment has stayed with me for five years because it’s true. Parenting isn’t quick. So don’t expect to parent the un-parented parts of yourself or your child in a night. It’s a long-term commitment.
  7. Give yourself to things you love. Not just the stuff you have to do, but the stuff you want to do. This will impact your feelings when you focus on your children. It’ll enable you to have joy outside of the parent/child relationship. It’ll add to your life. Your kid will love you for having one.

What would you add?

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