[[ Fathers: Get in CHECK ! Three must do’s to be a real father. ]]
Are you an absentee father? Are you a Satur-dad? Did you grow up with one of these? Help is on the way...
We are facing a male epidemic. We are allowing our men to be raised by media manipulation. As fathers, in growing numbers, we are silently bowing out of our responsibilities because of our own misguided paths and past. Here’s the thing… we can do better. Want to know how? Read on….
Generation after generation we are fed the belief, as young boys, to look up to our fathers. They are suppose to be our role models, our guides, the keepers of wisdom. Yet, a vast majority of us, grew up looking at an empty chair, or a guy you didn’t want to get mad, or the guy your mom told you to never become like…. Do you see the pattern?!
To replace this figure, we turn our attention to the male roles we have most access to. Television. On the one side we have the male role models in movies. These are the guys who are on their hero’s journey. They embark on a situation, sleigh the fierce dragon, get the girl, and wrap it up all within an hour or less. Unrealistic.
On the other side we have sports figures. Who, although they display amazing effort and athleticism, which is only gained through hard work, what they don’t show is them getting there. We get to see and hear of the extravagant lifestyles and wealth driven experiences. Rarely, if ever do either of these figures publicly display the real work which got them there, or relay their wisdom in a positive manner. (yes, this is a general statement)
Our third option is to go at it alone, which as a kid, has a 50/50 shot at turning out good. Typically, we accept the influence of characters who have their own interests and agendas, we just become pawns.
I get it. TV is entertainment,Sports teaches teamwork, and the streets is what’s left over. But in a generation who was raised with only these options, the line blurs of where WE as individuals matter, and by sitting watching other people’s journeys, we are not out growing the positive, productive skills to excel in our own.
Parents are distant and unapproachable in their efforts to provide their children better comfort. We are shooting ourselves in the foot.
Life is a skill. A skill learned by being out there making bad decisions, facing the failures, celebrating the successes. Finding your inner purpose, sharing your creative self expression with the world. Having the right male figure to support you, is critical.
Here are three ways, we as fathers can do this.
Show up and Shut up:
First off, we have to be there. I don’t always mean physically, although this is preferred, separation does not justify removal. Too many times we allow our ego get in the way and our negative relationship with their mother to cloud our judgement toward our children. That is its own issue and needs to be addressed on its own.
By showing up, I mean provide the container. Give your kids the space and comfort to know they can come to you, and that you will be there for them. Don’t make them feel like a burden or a nuisance, or a mistake.
Listen to what they have to say. Let them have an opinion. Guide them, don’t dictate at them. Coaching has taught me the difference between telling someone what to do (filling your agenda) and allowing them to find their own solutions with your guidance (wisdom). Learn to ask questions and help them build their decision making skills.
Encourage and show love:
Your kids are not you. They don’t have to grow up being you or liking everything you like. They don’t have to like your team or become a doctor because that’s what you want them to be. Encourage them to branch out and consider new things. Help them find themselves. Maybe they might influence you to find who you really are.
Love them for who they are and make sure they know it. When they know you love them, they won’t require material things to prove it.
Be a MAN:
Mothers tell their kids what a father is, men show them. And actions speak louder than words. Get your own shit in check. The best way you can raise your sons to be great men, is to be one yourself. Address your problems. If you need help, get it. If you have addictions, overcome them. Pride and ego are barriers which will hold your kids out and will corrupt the true wisdom you have to share.
This isn’t about making money and showering your kids with material things. All of that actually interferes in the process. Go to the park with them. Have a conversation with them. Boys will grow up with two options. To be just like their dad, or to be NOT like their dad. Live your life in a manner where they have the pleasure and are proud to say, “That’s my dad.”
Nobody is born great at anything. Being a father is one of those things. Having male anatomy, only makes you a male. It does not make you a good father. Doing the work is what is required. Learn the skills. Read a book, get a mentor, take a course. Whatever you do, don’t leave it up to your believe that what you’re doing right now is good enough. Or because that’s how it was done for you makes it okay. You can do better, and be better. And every bit of better you are is the better they will be. You only have a small opportunity to have the greatest impact on your children. Be glad you did instead of wish you had. They will always carry with them the lessons you taught as well as the lessons you didn’t.
We’re in this together,
Tony Kates is the award-winning author of the #1 bestselling book, Refuze to Live Average, and the founder of Refuze.com, the world’s leading provider of male driven personal development ideas and training. It is time for men to step into the true greatness they are capable of. This requires us to not only appreciate the wisdom from our past, and to also openly accept a new awareness of what is required of us today in order to create a better tomorrow.