It’s been a while since I’ve posted – a busy couple of months. In this post I have a guest writer, namely my gorgeous husband and great all round guy, Geoff. We were asked to contribute to our Church’s blog for parents and below is what Geoff wrote about what he has learnt in being a good dad. I hope you enjoy it.
Guilty if you don’t – Inadequate if you do?
A few years ago my wife Chris and I went and saw a play called “2 Pianos 4 hands” at the Glenn Street theatre in Belrose Sydney. It is a comedy about two men who since boyhood had both dreamed of becoming famous classical pianists. One line that really stuck in my mind was when recollecting piano practice in his youth one of them said:
“he felt guilty if he didn’t practice and inadequate if he did”
As piano practice is critical to becoming a great pianist, he evidently pushed through the obstacles, got on top of his practice and became a great musician. I imagine his desire to be a great pianist along with the fact that his best friend also wanted to achieve the same goal were critical to his success.
I can relate to that when it comes to being a Dad. I am sure all Dad’s want to be great Dads but the challenges and pressures of work and other life commitments can make it hard to “practice” being a great Dad. Over time I have seen some Dad’s invest too little in their families to the point where they feel distant and inadequate when they do catch up with their kids particularly in teenage years.
A few things I have found to be effective.
Do life together
Involve your kids in what you do, fixing things around the house, washing the car, going to hardware store. Having a “date” with your kids, doing school projects together, doing active stuff – I like to run and my girls have both done a half marathon with me which made me so proud and made me realise the power of including our kids in what we do. If you have teenage children you might find it is difficult to spend time based on their reactions and behaviours but don’t give up, they really need you to be involved in their life! Organise fun stuff with other families, we have been camping every year with a bunch of other families which our girls have loved as a family, we only started snow skiing when the girls where in their early teens and now we go every year with good friends and their children. Take them to church conferences, let them see how you interact with people, it will give them confidence in developing people skills.
Believe in your children
Include your children in lots of activities, let them try new things and give them many opportunities to learn without jumping in too quickly with correction or criticism. Give them plenty of encouragement and make it fun, speak words of encouragement and build them up by telling them when you see great qualities in them. Your children will reflect back what they get from you. Fathers who believe in their children have learned to believe in themselves.
Love your wife
Children draw security from knowing mum and dad have a strong relationship. You are the main role model for your children, and your relationship with your wife is the model they draw on in understanding relationships. Make your wife a priority, don’t let your relationship fade into the background because of the kids, be a good listener, establish a united front as parents, don’t let your kids play you off against your wife, be openly affectionate with your wife, concentrate on being kind more often and being right less often. If you are divorced, work to create an atmosphere of respect, cooperation and kindness with your ex-wife.
My girls tell me how secure it makes them feel knowing that I love them, that I love their mum and that I love God. Going back to the play, in “practicing” Christianity, we can slip into facing the same obstacles. Guilty of we don’t practice and inadequate if we do. When that happens to me I can always trace the problem to doing things in my own strength and not relying on Jesus. A quick audit on my life will reveal the same old “natural” offenders, getting too busy, tiredness, worry, poor quality prayer, not spending time waiting on God etc – in short a reliance on my natural abilities rather than the power and presence of God. So when I feel distant from God its the tried and proven stuff that I reignite – spending time talking with God, meditating on the Word of God, praying with close friends, thanking and worshipping God – these things realign my motivations and renew my thinking so that rather than falling into the trap of feeling like I have to do the right thing I want to do the right thing.
I hope you have enjoyed reading Geoff’s thoughts. I’ve attached a few photos, one being when Geoff went Sky-diving with Eloise last weekend for her 19th birthday present. I watched from the safety of the ground, and I’m sure Ruby would have gone if her jaw wasn’t wired together, but that’s another story.
Have a wonderful Father’s Day to all you magnificent dads.
Love Chris x ♥