The Voyage of Fatherhood: 3 Lighthouses
I recently did a Convergence Conversation in conjunction with the ACTS Group in Sacramento. Convergence Conversations are like a Christian TED Talks. ACTS stands for Advancing City Transformation Strategies--an organization committed to using the collective intellect, concern and resources of a city to initiate transformative outcomes. During this talk, I touched on my increasingly popular quote "fathers will father in the way they were fathered" and asked the provocative question, "if that is the case, then what about those fathers among us who never had the presence of a nurturing, engaged and committed father?"
Watch some highlights from this talk in the video below.
In my book Being The Dad I Never Had: Lifelong Lessons For Fathering After Fatherlessness, I offered 8 lessons that have been instrumental in my daily challenge to father effectively despite the absence of a model in my life. Feedback from many readers suggest that those lessons were impactful.
Without being shown how to do it effectively, fathering or parenting in general can be quite a treacherous voyage. We end up doing things that come natural to us that shouldn't be natural, and failing to do things that do not come naturally to us that should. So, like the voyagers who braved danger on the high seas many decades ago and used lighthouses as beacons to guide them, I offer you 3 key light houses to assist in the fatherhood/parenting journey.
1. YOUR PRESENCE IS REQUIRED, NOT YOUR PERFECTION - Some of us are distracted by the constant pursuit of perfection while our little ones are simply asking us for our presence.
2. BE THE BEST YOU, NOT A BETTER HIM - How many times have you heard someone say "I will never be like my father!" When we say that, we are too focused on what we are not going to be. Place that energy into declaring and living out WHO you are REALLY GOING TO BE!
3. ESTABLISH THE CONTRACT - Put in writing the basic tenets that describe how you want to be to your offspring and how you want your approach to fathering defined. These points in your contract can range from very very simple to rather deep. Putting it in writing emphasizes the seriousness but also gives a written gauge against which you can measure your performance periodically.
Happy Fathers Day to all the Daddies out there!