"You can let go now," I shouted to my dad as I tried to ride my bike without him holding on to the back of the seat.
"I already did!" I heard him respond from far, far behind me. I was 9 years old and I remember feeling pride in my own abilities and pride coming from my father. It was palpable. It was genuine. It was our moment.
Yes, my dad taught me to ride a bike. Maybe you have a similar story. For me, it was one of the many life lessons that I learned from him. Some lessons were good, some not so good. But they all helped to shape me into the woman I am today and gave me confidence to face many of life's challenges. A marriage-family counselor once told me: "Your mother prepares you to nurture and your father prepares you to go out into the world." Interesting idea, isn't it? Yes, as moms, we take on a very nurturing role from the second our baby is in the womb. As our children grow, we cuddle them, feed them, wipe away their tears, kiss boo boos and encourage them to dream big! We also pride ourselves in being able to multi-task, take on more than we need to and try to tell dads "how" to be more like us.
"Daddy needs to decide what kind of dad he wants to be." My 8-year-old shared these words of wisdom with me one day when I was in the middle of trying to show her daddy how to do something my way. She's exactly right! Dad may have a different way of doing things, like dinner, bathtime or playtime (yes, he has mad skills with video games!) but, different isn't wrong or bad. It's just his way. And, what if his role is preparing our children for their future in a way that we can't?
So, on this Father's Day weekend, I encourage you to let go and let dad be who he is. Whether that dad is your own, your husband, your brother or your friend, just let him be Dad. Yes, this will probably involve more of said video gaming or remote control hogging, but maybe it will open up an opportunity to connect and bond with his children in a whole new way. It might even turn into a "shared moment" that will prepare them to go out into the world, someday all too soon.