Are you being the best daughter or son that you can be? With Father’s Day on the calendar this month, take a minute to think about dad…
“A son’s first hero. A daughter’s first love.”
Dad’s away often. Dad’s estranged. Dad’s gone. Dad’s passed too early. Or maybe dad’s rocking little ones to sleep every night in a steady family relationship? We all have a different relationship with our father but our relationship with ‘dad’ offers us the pillars for our life and will impact our self esteem and confidence. We get strength, character, values, beliefs and a way of ‘being’ from our parents, with dad’s influence being right up there.
With Father’s Day this month, it’s timely to ask the question, “Am I being the best I can be to support my dad?” Supporting a distant dad will be different to supporting a dad who lives close. Spending quality time with him could be on the phone/Skype as well as actually visiting. Ask yourself, are you supporting him as he goes into older age? One day our fathers will no longer be with us and using the time we have now is valuable and impacting. This anonymous story is a good reflection…
The Wooden Bowl
A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law and four-year old grandson. The old man’s hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather’s shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.
The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. “We must do something about father,” said the son. “I’ve had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating and food on the floor.” So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. When the family glanced in grandfather’s direction, sometime he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.
The four-year-old watched it all in silence. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, “What are you making?”. Just as sweetly, the boy responded, “Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and mum to eat your food in when I grow up.” The four-year-old smiled and went back to work. The words struck the parents – they were speechless. Tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.
That evening the husband took grandfather’s hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.”
Ways to stay connected/improve relationships with dad
- Drop in or phone, spending quality time supporting and communicating
- Take him out for a drive in the country or transport him to a friend’s house for a visit
- Make a monthly date – lunch, movie, the races, anything they love to do
- Do something – mow the lawns, do heavy lifting, service the car, paint
- Laugh and reminisce – what could we learn?
- Ask questions about their childhood, our childhood – learn before they are gone forever
- Do a family tree and ask questions, learn about our family
- Go for coffee spontaneously or drop in and take them out shopping
- Spend time on Skype or FaceTime showing them our children. Much fun can come from this type of communication
- Ask yourself the questions, ‘Am I being the best I can be?’ and ‘How can I support them/him/her differently?’ and ‘Could I forgive and let go, allowing myself and others to move on?’
As parents, there are many things we can learn from how we were brought up. We model from our parents. The question is do we have to do everything they did, or are there things we could do differently?
My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talking ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say, “I’m gonna be like you, dad
You know I’m gonna be like you.”