24 August 2014

Fatherhood: Telling our life story

Posted in Family life

I love being a dad. I’ve got two young boys and I really want to be a great dad to them.

For much of the time, it’s easy for me – watching cartoons, reading kid’s books, playing Lego, talking nonsense and trying to get the boys to roll their eyes at me. But it’s not all fun and games. Sometimes I’m tired and brush the kids off or I’m frustrated and snap at them when I could have been gentler.

“When my oldest boy was two, I was, to him, Superman.”

While I enjoy being a dad, I also feel the pressure of wanting to do a good job. When my oldest boy was two, I was, to him, Superman. He followed me everywhere, wanting to do whatever I was doing. This gives us an important truth about fatherhood: our lives are an open book that our kids are reading, and the story they find there will shape their lives. Wow — no pressure, dads.

I find myself saying things to my boys, and I am stopped in my tracks as I realise I’ve just mirrored my own father. It’s difficult at times to discern between my father’s influence on me and a choice I have made for myself. My family is fortunate that my father’s life story was a good one worth retelling through facets of my own life.

What a powerful life story fathers tell their children. The big question is — what story do we tell? How do we talk and listen to our kids? What kind of time do we spend with them? How much affection do we show them? And what about the story they take in from other parts of our lives? How do we talk to our partners? What is our approach to our work?

How do we cope when things don’t go our way? Do we show concern for people in need?

I’m not trying to put more pressure on dads who are already under plenty of pressure. The point I’m trying to make is — your life tells a story that will resound in the lives of your children, so make that story count… make it a story they will love retelling.

Steve Forward

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