Today I listened to a wise woman speak about fathers and her message was “Children are not asking for perfection from their dads. They are asking for presence.”
Isn’t that the truth! And the same goes for all parents really. But today’s dads have won the freedom and the expectation to be nurturers as well as providers. For we are providing the most for our children when we parent them with love, caring, and yes, presence.
So many dads are out there everyday meeting the immediate needs of their children. I enjoy seeing one of my stay-at-home dads arrive at Play Shoppe at The Parenting Place on Friday mornings, two young boys in tow, a diaper sticking out of his pants pocket.
Fathering in action.
I spoke with a stay-at-home dad on the phone recently who had a question about his young son’s sleeping habits. We talked about these concerns, and then I told him about our Play Shoppe. I love that this Dad is present enough to know the right questions to ask about his son. Now they’re one of our regulars at Play Shoppe, and the last I heard, his son is sleeping well.
Of course, you don’t have to be a stay-at-home dad to be present for children. It’s the sharing, interaction and connections that take place in a family that are so significant in a child’s life.
I have heard moms joke that dads put their children’s clothes on backwards and forget to brush their hair or give a final wipe to breakfast still on their child’s face. But as the knowing woman who spoke today reminds us – presence not perfection.
I am particularly warmed by this message of fathers being present and hands on in their parenting.
Our own children were fortunate to have a dad like that in their lives. And my heart glows when I think about our son, a soon to be first-time father, who looks forward to being a hands- on dad.
My advice to our son as we talked recently was that all moms and dads alike are new to this stage of becoming someone’s parent. And as new parents, no one is really sure what exactly to do with this newborn in your life. We all get through it by being there, figuring out the baby’s needs and your own needs, by doing it – with love and compassion and some weariness thrown in – until, suddenly you are the expert on your child.
You understand every look, every sound, the ones of distress and the ones of pleasure. You know what your baby needs.
Presence not perfection.
Happy Fathers Day 2014 to all the Dads out there.
Know how significant you are!