FAB FATHER FRIDAYS: What makes a Dad, a Great Dad?

Great Dads use the Right Tools.Many of us have done it, I know I have… For almost a year after my son was born, my husband, due to unfortunate circumstances, was unemployed. To keep a roof over our heads and to keep my staff employed, I had to work flat out…long, full days, and late into many nights… I felt the guilt of not having the time with my baby boy… so I compensated, or at least attempted to… by regularly buying some kind of Fisher-Price Toy or another little item that I told myself he needed and wanted…But the harsh reality was glaring at me…The only thing my little guy really wanted and what would have been most valuable to him, was my time and connection with me… Instead of spending five minutes choosing a toy, far greater value would have been in spending those same five minutes playing with him, holding him, being in his company…Many Dads in particular, as a result of circumstances, tend to spend less time with their children, and spend more money on them, very often buying them things ‘they want’, hoping to make them happy, hoping, even subconsciously, to gain more of their children’s love and affection…We all enjoy a little ‘surprise present’ every now and then, but when gifts constantly replace time in our relationships, it’s like building the foundations of a double story house out of mud blocks… Too soon the lack of substance, quality, and strength is evident… and when the rains come, nothing is left…Material possessions come and go, they are destructible, transient, fading, impermanent… and relationships built on possessions will disintegrate just as quickly… But relationships that are built through connection and time spent together, through life spent together, through the daily humdrum- these are relationships that last, these are relationships that stand strong in the face of storms.Many times, in my practice, I have had parents in a divorce situation say to me, “Naomi, I just can’t give my children everything my ex-spouse does”, and along with that comes the fear that as a parent they will be less loved.My response has always been, “Just wait. Wait until the hard knocks in life come, and these are inevitable for us all. Build your relationship with your child by being consistent, by being present, by keeping the boundaries and by spending time with them. When the storms of life come, children don’t go running to the parent who has built a relationship with gifts and material possessions, they go running to the one who is a strong lighthouse- a lighthouse who they know will remain constant no matter what life throws at them, a lighthouse who has shown them that relationships are built on far deeper virtues than money can buy.” And time and time again, whether months or years later, the parent has returned to me and reflected, “You were right, the storm came, and my child came to me…”.Next time you feel guilty about doing too much work, being too busy, or being away from home- before your hand reaches for the toy or the gadget on the shelf that your child ‘really wants’, remember that the tools for a healthy relationship and for raising resilient children are time, consistency, connection, and just hanging out with them. A great Dad knows that money can’t buy the tools he needs in his relationship with his children. A great Dad knows that he is enough…his presence is enough…and that he is the only tool his children could ever want or need. Children will return to the safe harbour, they will lean on the lighthouse… Dad, how awesome to be the rock your child can lean on, and to know that the only tool you need, is you…

Have a Fabulous Friday.

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