Tag Archives: Fathering skills

Strive To Be The Best Dad

6 Feb

Continued from last week’s discussion on settling as a mediocre parent versus becoming a great parent.

I heard a TED talk by a man who was speaking about what he learned from his experience with a near fatal airplane crash. It was a relatively short talk for TED but impactful. In summary this very successful businessman said he learned, as his plane was minutes from crashing into the water, that he wanted to finish his bucket list; to be nicer to people, to love his family and friends more, and to fix his messes with loved ones. To his surprise in those brief moments another priority rose to the surface of what he believed to be his last thoughts. It was be a great dad, all else second. Why was taking care of his children all of a sudden the single most important thing? He didn’t give a reason he just said it had risen to the top of his life’s priorities.

How many times have we heard someone say “I wish I had spent more time with my kids” or “I hope I will be a better grandparent than I was a parent”? Perhaps you’ve even heard, “I wish I knew then what I know now, I would have been a better dad”. It goes on and on. The point is, we don’t have to wait until we are too old to have more kids, or after we have succeeded in accomplishing a successful material life, or after a near death experience.

It is in our genetic nature to care, we just have to let our natural instincts work and commit. Although this is not easy in our competitive culture, we must remove the layers of worry, fear, and apprehension, and connect to the basic and nature of our core life process- to care for our offspring. It is our first responsibility. So it is not enough to be the best dad you can be, it is simply to be the best dad period. Read, look, feel and commit. Life can be long or life can be short.

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Scott’s Speaking Event: New Renaissance Bookstore

5 Feb

Absorbing Time

30 Dec

Below is an excerpt from the Treading Water section of The Dad Connection.

Absorbing time is a subtle aspect that when put into the daily function of a busy parent-child relationship it can change not only the vibration of the moment, but can begin to set a behavior that helps remove potential conflict and stress that almost always follows a miscue or understanding of what we are expecting in our preset schedules.

Scheduling time is absolutely unavoidable, but absorbing the steam from the tension created when the schedule has to be changed is a technique that can allow us to pay more attention to more critical issues, get our life moving on more quickly, and stay on track. Time efficiency is probably not an ideal expectation with kids. Constant adjusting and absorbing the time (shock) is.

Commitments

19 Dec

Below is an excerpt from the Treading Water section of The Dad Connection.

If we understand that very often our teenager is generally overwhelmed with the effort it may take them to perform in their individual environment, relate to old and new friends, articulate their interests and emotions, learn what they are being taught, work is some study time, play sports, and on and on…(that was exhausting just thinking of it) then it becomes more obvious that accurately organizing and keeping to a ‘schedule’ might not exactly be high on their priority list; in particular, things (almost anything) that have lessor importance than the exact moment they are in….which is everything to a teenager.

Parents have to be able to ‘absorb’ this time. It is not exactly about being patient. Being patient is very often a passive behavior and absorbing time is more active. We are consciously restructuring the timeline to accommodate changing experiences while still holding on to some semblance of a schedule. We absorb this time by anticipating the interruptions and just expect it. We know there will be endless times where a surprise, “But Mom, I’m supposed to be there at 3:30!”, (and, of course it is already 3:30!) changes our plan. This is hard. Faulting our son/daughter should not be the first reaction, going into a time adjustment should. By not connecting to the tension that typically occurs when breaking a set schedule we are engaging the beginning of the process of ‘absorbing’ time…we are creating a buffer like a shock absorber between our need to get everything done and the loving connection to our child. When a car goes over a bump it doesn’t stop; the shock absorbers soften the impact and stabilize the car and it continues on it’s course. It is not quite the same as patience as I describe in my book but it does requires a similar sense of restraint.

Where’s The Time?

12 Dec

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Below is an excerpt from the Treading Water section of The Dad Connection.

Managing and scheduling time in our child’s life is often almost impossible to succeed with everybody being happy. At the least it’s challenging and frequently frustrating. We would typically say that a lot of patience is required. However, I like to think of it not as patience but rather ‘absorbing’ time.

Most teenagers are forced into the basic activities in their life like school, sports, birthdays, etc. Scheduling is not exactly a choice for them, but they have to do it even though most are not inclined nor capable at this time in their lives. They have very little experience or much of a sense of time. Time is amorphous and constantly shifting. For all practical purposes is almost non existent in their minds.

As parents we are constantly hit with last minute things to do for them, places to take them and protecting commitments they may have forgotten. Scheduling and rescheduling these can be as difficult for the parent as it is for the child. The child is rolling along trying to absorb everything that is happening to him/her during their last 6-7 hours in class. Since much of their activity occurs at their school when we are not around and they are being distracted every 10 minutes, it is not only possible that they have forgotten something they were supposed to do or place to be at but likely. (If the cell phone has redeeming qualities in today’s world helping teenagers create timely schedules certainly has to be one of them.)

Most parents can get used to this chaos but we don’t all accept it easily without considerable resistance, frustration, and tension. We are often left trying to compensate for some unknown and/or surprise commitment and then rushing or having to change our own plans in attempts to keep their schedule. These quick hair pin turns in a schedule can create lots of tension and irritation depending on how frequently they occur. It has happened to practically every parent. String a couple of them together and something will generally explode.

Stay tuned for more next Wednesday on Teenage Commitments.