Another Father’s Day. Another opportunity to reflect on the national crisis of fatherlessness and the fallout we see all around us because too many kids go through life without the love and support of their dads. (Need proof? Watch the movie called The Work, where tough guys, locked away in San Quentin for doing some really nasty things, cry like babies when recalling they didn’t have a father who loved them. More on that down the road).
For now, I’ll pass on the national crisis and reflect on something more personal, perhaps something worth considering yourself. I reread the chapter in Fatherhood: In Pieces
called “What You’d Do Differently.” Four observations stand out:
Maybe I would have spent more time at home instead of the office.
I could have spent more time with the kids.
Maybe I would baby the kids less.
I can see some readers’ eyes rolling on that last one. Communicate more? My kids are teenagers, you might say. They don’t talk, at least to me. Communicate more? Sure, great idea. So is petting a rattlesnake.Of all the wonderful things our society says about fathers… (Wait… there aren’t any… I’ll start again…). In an imaginary world where society occasionally says something positive about fathers, what would be the top 10 strengths attributed to dads? Chances are “They are great communicators” wouldn’t make the list, given the tendency of many men to say little.
So maybe a little communications coaching is in order. Below are two videos, also linked here and here, totaling 3 minutes and 54 seconds, on what two dads offer on communicating better with your kids. Spoiler alert: you’ll hear the word listen.
So maybe on this Father’s Day — while flipping burgers, watching golf, or hanging out with the family –you might mull over a simple question: Can I communicate better with my kids, and if so, how? What, you say? You‘d prefer a knee replacement or a prostate exam? C’mon. Shaping their values, setting expectations, knowing what problems they’re wrestling with, learning how you can help them, and telling them you love them are all important parts of being a good dad. And all require that you communicate. Go for it.
Happy Father’s Day.