In the past few years I have done a ‘year in review’ and goal setting exercise around the new year. Let’s just sum this up in one statement: 2016 started off bad, got worse, and ended awesome, 2017 looks really promising. So I am feeling pretty ‘amazing’ right now. 🙂 Rather than thinking of this as some new “start”, I’ve decided to coin 2017 as my new “style”. And I am executing on that in a few ways.
For this blog, the most noticeable change will be that I am not going to write about politics for a while. I figure that the president-elect is such a spectacular moron, that anything I write will only punctuate that fact, and I love this country too much to participate in any activity that would inevitably harm the office. Besides, that asshole just makes me sad.
I listen to a podcast called “The Good Dad Project” and the host has a private FB group called “The Dad Edge.” It’s a group of dads who are focused on sharing thoughts and supporting each other when one has a question. It’s an interesting group of a few thousand men. There is some good material I’ve read in posts and over the past year, it has spawned some refined thinking. I’ve always felt that fatherhood is just as important as motherhood. Further, the inherent societal bias to the mother, only perpetuates the stigma that fathers are by default, subservient and less important. Think of it this way, the fact that there is institutional bias that a mother is exclusively critical to a child’s life, means that more and more fathers are actually discouraged from being equally involved. And the automatic assumption that a mother is superior, is like any other form of prejudice.
There are good mothers and bad mothers, there are good fathers and bad fathers. A father’s predisposition to teach grit and toughness and perseverance, is just as important as a mother’s predisposition to nurture. Both are forms of love. But a predisposition does NOT preclude the other approach. Assuming that the motherly ‘bond’ is always superior is just as obnoxious as corporate America’s assumption that a man is better suited for a job than a woman. The notion of which is what pushes pay inequality. If that is intolerable, why is the same not true of parenting? In the world of parenting, the mom-focus has created a society in which many fathers feel it is ok to shirk their responsibilities because the mom makes all the decisions and takes all the credit anyway. Unacceptable.
[Except for Trump, who admits to being an absentee father but somehow is given credit for his kids turning out ok…ugghhhhh!!!!!! OK that’s it, I promise]
The default rule has pushed many of us to accept less than what we might otherwise want. Along with all the other injustices, I really think society should step back and think about what long term harm this one has brought about. I’ll leave this sociology question at that.
I like to think I have a good relationship with my daughters. I am able to talk with them, and for teenagers, I think they actually hear a fairly significant percentage of what we discuss. I have never written a blog-series of posts here, but I am going to take the following posts to summarize what I think constitute the 6 phases of my parenting relationship so far. We’ll see how it goes.
My 6 phases go something like this
- Patience – Basic care, unbridled love in the face of challenge
- Foundations – Talking, building a culture of honesty, setting tone
- Sharing – Finding mutual pursuits
- Connecting – Enabling growth with their own ‘thing’ and finding a way to build a bridge to it
- Cultivating – Coaching in a way that focuses on what they love
- Release – Setting them free