August 9, 2020
Good morning friends. I wish you all a happy and healthy Sunday. Even with the pandemic craziness, violence and madness in our streets, time keeps ticking away. Now would be a perfect opportunity to stand up and let your voices be heard. It’s time we unite as a nation, country and people. We need to work together to ensure our children have an amazing, free and prosperous society to grow and live. Let’s do our best to ensure we’re all around to enjoy their future, as well as our own. This is for all the fathers, future dads and anyone that will be a parent one day. It’s also a great read for Moms and everyone else out there. Thank you for taking the time.
What is it like to be a Dad? I believe I’m qualified to share my opinion on this subject. My fatherly expertise spans the last 29 years. I can add a few months to that number to cover pregnancy too. Life and my career field provides more experience, information and knowledge on the subject. I began talking to my daughter early, while waiting for her arrival. I even sang and would tell her stories. It might sound silly, but when she was born, she already knew my voice. That may also explain why she’d later tell me not to sing while we were driving in our car together. I have to agree with her, I’m definitely not a candidate for male vocalist of the year (in any category). Every time we talk now, I gain a little more insight about being a father. It’s been a learning process and privilege. I absolutely love being a Dad.
Being a Dad really begins with you just being present. It’s a commitment and worth every second. You have to be there in order to be part of your child’s life. Too many Dads are not there and this is where they fail as adults. Parents are the most important part of their children’s lives. From birth, we are their source of learning, inspiration and order. This process never ends, but it has to begin for it to have meaning and purpose. I’ve witnessed some parents take a less than active role in the raising of their children. It begins with them regularly leaving their kids to be watched by someone else. I’m not talking about parents who both have to work. I understand that dilemma quite well. I am referring to some parents interested in their own pleasures. They’d rather be out pursuing their own desires, instead of actually being a parent. Once their child is old enough, these parents have no issue leaving them home or giving them money to go off and entertain themselves. The child is left to grow up without supervision or direction. Sadly, there are kids whose father is not there (for whatever reason). These kids are raised in a world not having the opportunity to learn from a dad. It’s heartbreaking these kids grow up and sometimes go astray due to lack of proper parental guidance. Kids need love, support and to be shown the difference between right and wrong. Mothers and fathers have significant roles in the development of their children. We need to be there for them, always.
We have some teens, who are given everything and others who have nothing. Many of these lack the foundation, support and values provided by parents. During my many years in law enforcement, I entered homes where active parenting didn’t exist. I can’t even begin to describe the homes I was summoned where abuse occurred on a regular basis. The trauma is agonizing. It is difficult to imagine how a child can succeed when there are many negative factors they must hurdle. I’ve seen homes without parents, no father, alcohol or drug abuse, mental or physical abuse or parents that just don’t care. Luckily some kids have supportive family members, while others have none. It frustrated and hurt me more to see kids end up as wards of the state. What chance do they have? Yes, all kids thrive on love, structure and guidance. They need someone to provide direction, teach them values and character traits like respect and honesty. A Dad can be an amazing role model and this is where (and when) they are needed the most. Without parental figures for guidance, kids tend to flounder and are often left to their own devices.
There are a number of protests (riots) occurring in our country and around the world today. Many of these take radical turns, involving violence and hatred. If you look closely; the outrage, violence and disrespectful behavior in our streets can be attributed to a variety of individuals. Many of these perpetrators are young adults and teens. Why? Is it possible some of our young adults did not receive the same skills or traits I did as a kid? Maybe they were never allowed to fail, were handed everything, always were told they were “winners” or believed all they had to do was show up to receive a “trophy.” My law enforcement career did provide me with training, experience, knowledge and skills to recognize certain behaviors. It doesn’t take an expert to see the values and beliefs of these young individuals is lacking. They portray themselves as victims of inequality and unfairness, instead of assuming responsibility for their own actions and failures. I don’t know what happened while they were being raised, but their values and sense of right and wrong are misguided.
Being a Dad can be tough. I love my daughter and want her to love me. I am her friend, but recognize I can’t be a push over either. As her father I learned to balance being firm, a disciplinarian, understanding her needs and having fun. You have to be ready, willing and able to fulfill all the significant aspects of the “job.” I don’t mean it’s work, in the job sense, although there are times it is a full time endeavor. It really is a labor of love. It is an opportunity of a lifetime. Dads get to share in the development and growth of a life they helped create. Your child is literally a piece of you. Don’t be afraid to step up to the challenge. Talk, listen, share, teach, do, experience together and watch your child blossom. Empower them to dream and find their passions in life. Be an active participant in their lives. Seize the opportunity to meet their friends and the parents of those friends. Be involved in their activities, interests and adventures. Make time to listen to what they say every day! This is your child’s journey. You’re their guide to discovering their own path to living a happy and healthy life.
I was fortunate to have an amazing and outstanding Dad! He instilled and taught me so many great qualities and characteristics about life and how to live. It is because of him I grew and matured into a man. I carry traits like honesty, loyalty, integrity and respect with me every day. These traits have served me well, during my career in law enforcement and as a Dad. All of what my father gave me, unknowingly prepared me how to be a better Dad. I only hope that I can measure up to the high standards he set. The important traits I received from him provided the foundation for my fatherhood role. Much of parenting still requires “on the job training.” They don’t teach you in school how to change diapers or prepare you for handling sick kids. Those are all perks of being a Dad that you pick up, evolve and refine along your parenting journey. I have enjoyed every step of the way.
Actually, there is something I have to mention that I’d alter if possible. When my daughter was seven, her mom and I divorced. Not being home with her every day was incredibly difficult. We had a typical custody and visitation agreement, which never seemed like enough time. The good part, is although we couldn’t resolve our issues, we made our daughter a priority. We never put her in the middle of our situation. We worked together to parent as a team. We ensured she knew our love for her was stronger than ever. Her mom worked long hours, as did I. We arranged our schedules to ensure one of us could always be with her, if at all possible. That worked out in my favor, as I saw her sometimes daily. Our efforts to focus on our daughter gave me the opportunity to be an almost full time Dad. I enjoyed every moment of our time together!
As much I tried to leave work there, it sometimes followed me home. The stress or trauma experienced from the events of my shift had the power to affect my mood or demeanor. I never realized the impact my career had on her, especially from how we interacted together on those negatively charged occasions. A young child sees and feels everything, especially from their parents. If my day was particularly dark, it showed through and affected her. I wish I’d known and understood that back then. I’m happy we resolved those issues later.
Be there to encourage and assist them along their own path. Allow them to experience failure early in life. Pick them up and let them try again. My daughter began playing sports at a young age. It began with gymnastics, then transitioned to volleyball, basketball and eventually softball. She enjoyed softball and played for several years before entering high school. The very first day of high school, she came home and told me she had joined a team. I naturally believed it was softball. Needless to say, I was surprised when she told me it was the cross country team. She told me, “As much as I love softball Dad, I felt it was time to do something on my own, but still on a team.” I had to respect her for making such an amazing decision on her own.
During her years playing softball she learned the value of team sports and building positive relationships with teammates and coaches. She experienced defeat and losses, but learned that wasn’t the end of the world. It also made winning that much more thrilling and worthwhile. Now she transitioned into a new world, where she controlled her own destiny of loss or wins. Either way, I knew she’d be fine. Whether your child is concerned with grades, sports, personal endeavors or something else; give them the room to succeed or fail. Always be there with your fatherly advice, support and love. Let them live their dream and reach for the stars. Help them build that ladder of success, physically and mentally.
My message to you; we, as parents, have the power to raise happy and healthy kids. If you were raised in an unhealthy, unhappy, parentless or traumatized environment; please do not repeat this cycle of the past. Be mindful and caring to ensure your children have the necessary tools, skills and love to grow into amazing adults. If you need help, I know it’s out there. Just reach out. I’ve done it and am so much better for asking. Don’t ever sell yourself short, telling yourself I can’t be there or do this. The truth is you can be there and you can be a great parent. Assume your own responsibility, stay focused and positive. Never retreat or back away from your duty as a Dad. We have so much to offer our kids. You may not know it until you sit down and open yourself up to the experience. It is truly amazing and rewarding.
Share your knowledge and experience with your child at every opportunity. Be honest and tell them the truth; even if it hurts. It’s better if they learn from you instead of someone else. Build them strong and tough, mentally and physically. They must be able to stand up for themselves, not in an aggressive manner, but neither thin skinned or weak. We want our children to be able to support themselves in all situations, whether we’re available to assist or not. Endow them with spiritual strength and enlightenment. Teach them and allow them to follow their own path.
Don’t be afraid to let your kids fail. Challenge them now, so they can challenge themselves later throughout life. This isn’t an easy accomplishment, as we never want to see our children hurt or sad. We always want them to be winners and in first place. The reality is they will not always be first. Too many times we engineer or control outcomes to give the perception of great achievement, when that is not the case. Our society has adopted the premise that all kids win all the time. That’s not true and detrimental to their development. We especially see it in youth sports, where all the teams and kids receive trophies. This is a sweet concept, but we are doing our kids a disservice. We want them to succeed in life. By making them always seem like “winners” this is just setting them up for future disappointment. Take a look at what some of our college kids (along with the teachings of some radical professors) are doing these days.
It is our responsibility as parents to teach and instill values and strong character traits in order to succeed. Provide them the mental and physical skills necessary to grow into outstanding adults.
Many children are involved in sports, playing a musical instrument or something before beginning school. We are the people they will watch, learn from and emulate. Be the best possible parent you can be. Give them honesty, loyalty, courage and integrity. Show them it takes hard work, dedication and discipline to achieve great things. When they do well and succeed, they will appreciate it more than having something handed to them.
I could talk so much more on this topic. I’m happy my daughter is grown and matured. We’ve shared those crucial conversations needed to repair our feelings and build our relationship. We share a special bond of mutual respect and honesty for each other. I love that!
I hope you understand the fatherly points I am discussing. Each of us are unique individuals. We have so much to offer. Share your wisdom and knowledge with your kids. Let yourself be a great Dad! Maybe you know a child who doesn’t have support and guidance they need. Offer your assistance! You never know what one step toward kindness can bring. We all deserve the love of a Dad. Now, more than ever, our kids need their Dad to provide encouragement and love.
Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more! The healthy life puzzle is always in rotation. Let’s be healthy and strong mentally, physically and spiritually!
Thanks for your love and support! Embrace Life! Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!