From a physical standpoint, a man merely needs to impregnate a woman to become a father. Being a highly attentive father who develops a nurturing, supportive, and intimate relationship with his children requires at least as much focus and resources as is needed to maintain a solid marriage.
As the father of three adult children (and grandfather of a six-year-old granddaughter), I am celebrating my long, mainly lovely journey as a father, and am happy that each of my children will be honoring me on Father’s Day. Although my wife Ruth and I (finally) became “empty-nesters” this year, we maintain frequent contact with each of our children, and happily, they all reciprocate.
While our entire family is currently flourishing, we have definitely paid our dues and been “road- tested,” especially by our youngest daughter. As a credit to all of us, we have worked hard at keeping the channels of communication open through the many trying times we’ve had over the years. Probably the single most helpful thing we did to enhance family relationships was scheduling weekly or bi-weekly family meetings, during which we each had a chance to: a) share highlights of our week b) express our feelings and special needs c) make specific requests of one another d) identify and work toward resolving conflicts. We took turns leading the meetings. Each meeting was followed by a special dinner as a reward for our peace-oriented efforts. After initially balking at these meetings, our kids came to look forward to them, as they derived a lot of value from the clearings and intimacy that grew out of them.
In this era in which fathers often are disrespected and sometimes bashed, I encourage men to firmly, yet respectfully assert their needs and feelings with their children. Our family meetings provided me regular opportunities to do just that.
I want to pay homage to all the dads out there who are consistently “digging into” the grit work involved in being devoted fathers. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! Soak up the tributes and love!
I will be moderating a panel of five highly-conscious fathers at Whole Man Expo on Sept. 10th (see tab on this site) to discuss our challenges, successes and joys as fathers. You are invited attend our session to witness our self-disclosures and to question the panel.