Dad, do you get it? Or are you missing it?
Darren and his wife sat in the living room watching a video their son had created with some of his classmates. It was quite good, and as soon as it ended, Darren’s wife gushed about how impressed and proud she was of her son.
Then Darren piped up: “Yeah, that was really good, Son …. Now don’t forget to take out the trash, OK?”
You know what happened next: he got that look from his wife. You know the look. We’ve all seen it. It’s that look that says, “You just don’t get it, do you?”
We dads have some learning to do when it comes to verbally affirming and blessing our children. And even when we do get it—when we’re aware of areas that could be shortcomings—we may say, “I’m just not wired like my wife,” or, “My son knows I’m proud of him.”
As Darren says, that’s when “that look” really sank in. It was as if God was telling him, “You may not be wired just like your wife, but it’s time to step up and be the nurturing father your son needs.”
Even though our children do benefit from a dad’s unique approach to parenting, many of us could stand to adjust our style to include more emotion and sensitivity. That’s uncomfortable for many men, but it’s something we can and should learn. And if your father was emotionally distant, it will take time. But be assured: there are healthy, masculine ways to express that side of ourselves.
One sure way to connect with your children is to be more intentional about investing in them—spending time with them, deepening your relationship and talking about things that really matter. Also, be more aware of your children’s development as they move through different stages. Maybe, dad, you’re unintentionally keeping them at a distance with the way you handle anger or your tendency to avoid conflict.
Dads, we mustn’t settle for “not getting it.” When we feel prompts to make changes and grow as fathers, we need to take whatever steps are necessary to improve—for our kids’ sake.