The terrible twos, the defiant preteen, the rebellious teen etc… Fathering is a journey of ever changing problems. Each one seems to be greater than the next. It seems like it never ends; but that is what it is. Fathering is a lifelong process; even an adult child will come to you for advice every now and then. We try hard to come up with clever solutions, but something that works today may not work tomorrow and even if it does another dilemma will surface.
Let’s step back and look at the big picture. Quick fix solutions will only tide you past that incident. Fathers should work less on the surface issues and pay more attention on the inner self of the child. Good morals, compassionate heart, religious belief and a thoughtful mind. These are some of the strong foundations that can be deeply rooted in your child. How do you teach these values effectively? Besides the obvious way of talking and telling them the right things to do, a more effective method is to walk the talk. Your actions, speech, belief, and emotion will mark your child’s personality. Have you ever noticed how younger children try to emulate the actions of an adult? Throughout the child’s growing years, although not as obviously, he is still looking at you and shaping his inner being according to your likeness. If you want certain traits in your child, you will need to show it first.
With your child armed with these strong foundations, even in the midst of toughest problems, you know that these values will push through eventually. Even in your absence more likely than not he/she will make a discerned decision.
Reflection pointers for fathers to consider…
Name a value that you want to pass on to your children. How are you demonstrating and living out this value in your interaction with your child?
The day to day activities of living present many great teaching moments for you to impart values to your child, e.g like helping mommy to set the table or wash the dishes after the meal, or cleaning the fish tank or the rabbit cage if you have pets at home.
Action pointers for fathers to connect…
1. Ask your wife what is one value she wants to pass on to the children. Ask her how you can help to demonstrate that value at home and in your interaction with the children.
2. Tell your children about a difficult time in your school life, how it impacted your life and how you find strength to carry on in the difficult times.
By Philip Chang, Centre for Fathering