Great Dads are inclusive in their role
The life that we share with ‘others’ that are not family members is ‘an expression of inclusiveness’. When we open our lives and our homes we are being ‘inclusive’ and inviting others to share in the ‘unique blessing’ that our family can give. ‘Exclusive’ parenting styles are often based in fear and try to protect themselves by keeping others out, while ‘inclusive’ parenting styles stem from a confidence in who you are and what you believe as a family and are open to share their goodness with others.
‘Great Dads’ have the confidence to be inclusive in their parenting strategy and are willing to share the blessing they have to give with others.
Fathering over the wall
Many children in our modern society are growing up in ‘broken’ families, with either little or no fatherly contact for the children. There is an overwhelming need for each child born to have the love and guidance of both their mother and father if they are to grow up as strong and productive members of society. Many behavioural issues that arise in children’s lives can be traced back to ‘family breakdown’, and their effects are felt daily in the wider community.
It seems clear that many parents in our generation never received the love and training of a father that they themselves needed, and so lack the skills and parenting methods required to pass on to the next generation. Dysfunctional parents create dysfunctional children, who then become dysfunctional parents, and the process is repeated down throughout the generations.
However, if one loving father finds room in his heart to ‘encourage’ and ‘connect’ with a young person from one of these dysfunctional families, their whole future can be impacted and changed for the better. A rock dropped into a pool sends ripples out a long way, we as fathers can use the ripple effect to ‘father over the wall’.
Whether it’s being a friend to one of your children’s playmates or becoming a coach of a local soccer team, we as fathers have an opportunity to impact not only our own children’s lives but those of others in our community. ‘Great Dads’ are often those who influence their communities positively by ‘fathering over the wall’.
Influencing rather than being influenced
In every relationship there is give and take, and that principle remains constant even in a child’s friendships. However, one person in the relationship is often more dominant or influential than the other and therefore in a position to bring change. As a father we need to ensure that most of the influences around our own children are positive and encouraging. In saying that not all of our children may initially be natural leaders or exert influence themselves and may be more susceptible to the influence of others. Some of the influences that come into our child’s life may prove to be detrimental in the long-term and it is those relationships that need to be ‘identified and removed’ as wisely as possible.
Those that stand up for what they believe become the positive ‘influence’ in society, while many others simply follow the crowd. We as fathers need to continue to impart wisdom, understanding and acceptance to our own children, giving them the self-confidence, they need to become some of the future leaders within their generation. In every relationship there are those who are being influenced and those who are doing the influencing, and it is important that we position our children as best we can to be a leader within their peer group. ‘Great Dads’ impart their abilities and strengths to their children so that they too may become a positive ‘influence’.
Being proactive and planning
One of the best things a father can do for the future is to create a child/teenager friendly home environment, which is welcoming to those of their age groups. This may include things like pool or ping-pong tables, swimming pools, playhouses etc. or just a comfortable place where the kids like to ‘hang out’ together. By providing gaming consoles and large screen TV’s we can create an environment that is conducive toward making your home the ‘hang out’ of choice for your own children and their friends.
This often gives us as fathers an opportunity especially in the teenage years to ‘screen’ our child’s friends, and if needed to express any concerns we may have about a friendship that may not be in their best interests in the long-term. One of the benefits of having a child-friendly home is that our children remain under our care and watch rather than leaving and going to someone else’s place, where we may not be able to influence the environment.
Building a better world
We as one man can’t save the whole world, but we can transform the lives of some of those around us by impacting them with love and encouragement. No man is an island and no family is either, we are part of this world whether we like it or not and we all have a part to play in it. Opting out of being part of it is not an option, so we as fathers need to be the best influence in our world that we can be. If we choose to be ‘inclusive’ in our parenting strategy we can be ‘the rock’ that sends out ripples in the pool of our local community and touch the lives and futures of many young people. ‘Great Dads’ become the positive ‘influence’ our societies need to build better communities and ultimately a better world.
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