What does it mean to be a father? What distinctive contributions does a father make to their children's lives that are different from a mother's contributions? The idea of "fathering" is quite different from "mothering" and includes important elements such as:
-Roughhousing and other physical activity,
-An interest in having children encounter the world outside of the mother's enclosure, not in spite of it but in addition to it,
-The use of play as a form of teaching as well as entertainment,
-A willingness to allow frustration to build a little bit more than a lot of mothers are comfortable with, in order to teach some life lessons (Kyle Pruett on Fatherhood).
Dad's style of rough-and-tumble play and encouraging risk often can make moms nervous, but research shows that exposure to this paternal parenting style helps children learn how to: be independent, face challenges, and avoid reacting with physical violence (Distinct, Positive Impact).
As I look at my friends and siblings becoming fathers, I am excited for the things they will be able to teach their children. As I reflect back on the things I've learned from my own father, a few important lessons stand out:
- You're not always going to get what you want in life, but if you keep persevering you will find joy and enjoyment in the results of your hard work.
- You can do hard things. Don't be afraid of taking the more difficult path, because it has greater rewards!
- Always remember the things that are most important. Be firm in what anchors you, especially when the storms of life come.
- Never stop learning. Always keep a habit of reading and studying to gain knowledge that will benefit yourself and your family.
Thank you to all the dads who are positive influences in their children's lives! It's not always immediately evident, but your example and teaching makes a huge difference!
Happy Father's Day!