Sunday, January 6, 2013

Fatherhood - Breaking The Cycle Of Bad

Dearth Vader - "I am your father."
Luke - "NNNNNNOOOO!!!!!" - 
The Empire Strikes Back

   With my own past experience to draw from, a big fear of mine is for my children to react the way Luke did to his father. "Nooooo!!!!" Context aside, the point is the same. I don't want my children to be ashamed of me, afraid, timid, shy, or anything else that results from bad parenting. Now, I don't mean letting them stay up too late, or eat too many sweets before dinner. I'm talking about the meat of being a father. Most of us can be the iron fist, pretty easy. Hell, I picked up that one from my old man without even trying. I'm looking for that thing I remember feeling when hearing "Daddy's Hands" by Holly Dunn that goes:

Daddy's hands were soft and kind when I was cryin´. 
Daddy´s hands, were hard as steel when I´d done wrong. 
Daddy´s hands, weren´t always gentle But I´ve come to understand. 
There was always love in Daddy´s hands.

   After a less than stellar father moment this morning, I realize how much I need to work on the "soft and kind" bit. The point was rammed home last week when I had some holiday time with my 'Lil Miss. As I was going the extra mile on her little art project she says, "You sure are being nice to me today!" Even now, the word "nice" rings in my ears, like some accusation. I'd like that to be the norm.  I know that my brothers and I have truly broken the cycle of bad fatherhood, though it doesn't come easy. I called my old man once years ago and asked what he was up to. He told me he had just given my half sister a bath and was brushing her hair. I let an awkward pause happen, then said, "You never brushed MY hair dad..." He exclaimed, "You were boys! I didn't know what to do with you guys!" THAT'S the cycle we're breaking. It's a conscious effort to try. We make daily decisions to not shrug off a game of Go Fish, ask about a day at school, talk about the things they see everyday, and so on. 
   Some previous thoughts I've had are at my post A Father's Love. It all applies. Say "I love you more." Take more time with each child. Curb the things you didn't like your father (step-father, father figure, father time, etc.) saying and doing.
   Keep up the fight. Fatherhood is a brotherhood. We're all in this together.


1 comment:

  1. Great post. It's so important to show our kids our gentle side. They need to know that fathers are compassionate and loving.