Happy Father's Day to all... and now a little history!
Dysfunctional is the adjective we hear and use so often when discussing our closest family relations. What a shame and what's worse there's no need for it.
Yes, many if not most families have their issues. They arise from a lack of effective communication. This refers in part to the inability to understand and respect what comprises differences in personal style.
We could spend hours on this topic, but not today.
It's Father's Day and we want to join together and honor our dads, grandfathers, uncles and all the important males in our life.
Those of us Baby Boomers lucky enough to have fathers still living should rejoice that we have the opportunity to tell our dads just how important they are to us. Others can pay tribute in different ways. My dad was great. Without his support, this piece would never have been written.
Generations X, Y, Millennials and other age cohorts celebrate this day in their fashion. In the age of the extended family most would be spending time together. Some do. In the 21st century we're often lucky when immediate family makes it to join in a group activity. Thanks goodness for Skype and FaceTime.
As Baby Boomers many of us grew up in families where our Father's were busy working continually to support the family. After an exhausting day on the job they had little energy to spend the amount or quality of time with us that our Mom's did. Of course our Mother's had no easy job of it at home either.
In general fathers from the boomer years weren't great communicators. It was a cultural phenomenon. How many of you guys reading this article can recall discussions about sex other than "don't do it" or "use protection?" Not much talk about the implications, responsibilities and consequences that went along with sexual activity.
Boomer dads were supposed to be tough. The family provider and disciplinarian. You rarely went to your dad if you got into trouble in school. That usually meant double punishment.
This was pretty much true no matter what the socioeconomic background. Look at divorce rates among boomers. A lack of meaningful communication is just one of the many causes. Despite Dr. Spock, Joyce Brothers, Dear Abby and others we weren't the best informed and often didn't receive the guidance we needed. Our friends usually taught us the "important stuff."
Now here's the disconnect. We've supposedly evolved as a people. The air is swirling with helicopter parents and G-d forbid your child doesn't have play dates. Dads and Moms start applying to schools the day after a child is born. No more gallivanting and fun in the neighborhood streets. What happened to stick ball?
Yet despite our alleged evolution not a lot has changed. Dads are usually still the tough less talkative family members. Moms are the ones upon whose shoulders we cry. (I'm making lots of generalizations here so please don't take me to task.)
However women if you want a modern-day example think of one of your biggest complaints about your relationships with the opposite sex... your man won't communicate. This didn't happen overnight!
Dads often downplay Father's Day. But the reality is they have the same desire to connect as moms. Unfortunately their dads didn't set a positive role model to follow. Show your dad some loving, he'll feel real good.
Now let's go back to the beginning. Create a family dialogue that encourages and respects each other's views. Communicate. Embrace different styles. What made sense in 1959 may have little relevance to 2014.
Family dynamics evolve slowly. It's worth the wait and is a worthy investment.
The upside is that humanity will be evolving. It always does. Healthy communication is strong medicine. Through acceptance of differences we'll enjoy a stronger existence. Show your human side.
Guys it's OK to have strong emotions. It's feels great to hug your kids, they want your opinions though may not yet admit it.
Your children crave love and attention and want to be able to turn to you in times of trouble. If your fourteen year old son still refers to you as Daddy so be it. It means he feels like a kid and you are his rock! Don't worry, he'll be drinking beer soon enough.
The role model you create for your daughters will benefit them in later life. Relationships with the opposite sex will be more rewarding. The values you instill in your sons will help create a kinder gentler nation. As you respect women, so too will your sons. Everyone wins!
Guys, be mindful. Spend time thinking about what you'd really like in a relationship with your child. Set some goals and then make sure you find the opportunity to put them to work. Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send you Mind Acrobatics™ exercises to get you going.
As families let's all become more aware of what we value in our relationships.
In the meantime, let's make sure we show our dads we really love them. Get ready for a hug and kiss dad... it's coming your way.
Happy Father's Day to all.
To my Dad, you're always in my heart and your life instructed and informed the man I am today!
Please feel free to share your favorite father stories with us all. Make your comments below.
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