It’s Father’s Day here in the UK and I always miss my wonderful Dad as he was just such a wonderful person, charismatic, kind, thoughtful, funny and great, great fun.
From my Dad I learnt my values, my confidence, my tenacity.
From my Dad I learnt compassion, finding the balance in everything from studying, working, to playing and having fun.
From my Dad I learnt how to trust men, how to be treated by men and how to respect myself.
From my Dad I learnt to be independent, resilient and what family life was all about.
My children learnt about patience, tolerance, people who cared and loved them enough to spend TIME with them playing, reading, laughing, going to the park, spoiling them on Wednesday afternoons when my Mum and Dad picked them up from school to spoil them with sweets, comics and ‘True Lies’ as my Dad had run out of true real life stories about his own life and made up wonderful stories and tales for my kids that they still remember today despite being 22 and 20.
When he passed away on 15th July 2004 it was just after his 79th birthday and 3 days before mine.
I still miss him and he never saw me on the telly or radio or read my books – but from my happy childhood came my passion to pass on some of that magic to other families.
Here’s powerful blog from Aleksander Binder of Dads 4 Life UK about the power of Dads.
THE POWER OF DAD!
I set up Dads 4 Life UK earlier this year to raise the profile of fathers and just how important they are to their children in so many ways.
As is commonly the case, my own personal experiences are a huge driving force behind the things I do; of course nothing drives me more than my own children.
The primary focus at Dads 4 Life UK is to engage in dialogue and liaise with professionals, organisations, politicians and services to broaden their understanding of the incredibly important role of fathers in their children’s lives and to work with those in positions of power and influence to reframe the social policies and practices that have been identified by many researchers as failing to engage and support fathers.
And it’s not just their children who enjoy better outcomes. Involved, committed, loving fathers have a positive impact on families, wider society and social mobility overall.
However, as its Father’s Day tomorrow, I wanted to post something that was a little less ‘policy’ and a little more ‘personal’.
I don’t generally allow my own feelings to govern the direction I want Dads 4 Life UK to take. I am one man. Dads 4 Life UK isn’t mine; it belongs to every father out there who wishes to own it.
Every dad who loves his children more than anything else in the world; misses his children when they are apart; works his nuts off to provide for his children; reads bed time stories; plays games; assumes the role of taxi-driver; does the school run; runs the fathers race on sports day (with a ferocious competitiveness that is driven by nothing more than your desire to win & make your children proud and impress their onlooking classmates); fixes bike punctures; combs Barbies hair; spends evenings removing Lego pieces from the soles of his feet (that’s a pain you never get used to isn’t it); joins his young daughter and her imaginary friends for the teddy bears tea party…
There are too many things to mention of course, but you get the picture.
As a father of four I am familiar with the ups and downs of fatherhood. I know it can be difficult, for many different reasons. But no matter how tough it can be, there is no feeling in the world more incredible than that moment when your children tell you they love you. When they wrap their arms around you and squeeze you so tightly.
I think that is one of few feelings in this life that feels as amazing the last time as it did the first time.
In fact I can think of only one real negative when it comes to being a daddy; it goes too fast.
How many of you have taken a moment and just thought “bloody hell, where has that time gone?”
First day at nursery. First day at primary school. First day at secondary school.
I couldn’t think of a more appropriate time than Father’s Day (a little early I know) to remind all you dads out there of the two things that I think are the most important things you need to know about being a father:
1. Enjoy it. Time goes so so quickly. Embrace it. Never take it for granted. Take every chance you get to cuddle, kiss, hold, comfort, laugh, cry, talk, play, learn with your children; they grow up so quickly.
2. Never never forget just how important you are to your children. You are their role model, their protector, their friend, their teacher. You are and always will be their daddy!
I came across this article earlier whilst looking at some research and I think it says it all, so please, read it. But then read it again, and absorb it and believe it and remember it.
I’m not ashamed to say that it brought tears to my eyes. I hope it touches and inspires you as much as it did me.
So, to all you dads out there; keep up the incredibly good work!
Written by Dr. Meg Meeker:
I have learned a few truths about parents and kids in my 30-year career as a pediatrician. One of the most profound is this: fathers are more important in their children’s lives than they will ever realise this side of heaven.
I have had the privilege of listening to thousands of children over the years and my work has led me to the unusual role of consulting with the NFL men in order to help them learn how to be better fathers. When I was first offered the job, I declined, believing that I had nothing to offer them. They needed someone who was male, looked liked them and understood their world. The last thing they needed was a middle-aged grandmother who was a pediatrician.
I was wrong. The men that I have spoken with relate very, very well to mother figures (yup- I’m that old.) In fact, they relate far better to older women than they do men. And that’s just the problem. Many have no idea how to respond to father figures because they have not known them. More upsetting to them is that they always craved father attention but never received it. As a matter of fact, after I interviewed about twenty NFL men about fatherhood, the overwhelming consensus among them was that they felt insecure about their roles as fathers for two reasons. First, they had no idea how a father behaved, how he spoke or what he presented himself like and two, they lived with enormous pain because they never had fathers. Many, in fact, choked up as I spoke with them about their fathers.
So here’s my point to you, dear fathers, as you read this. You have no clue as to the life-changing impact your being has on your children. And that’s OK. You can’t know unless you dig into your own heart and reflect as a boy about your own father or lack of father. What did you want from him? What did he fail to give you? Why did he fail? How did he show you that you were the apple of his eye and extraordinary, simply because you were his son? Think about these things.
Now, recognise that you are the one who can give those things. You are on the other side. You are the one to whom some little soul looks to, to figure out whether or not he is worth anything at all. Will you see him when he walks in the room and smile or will you keep talking on your cell phone and ignore him? How will you show your daughter that she is worth everything to you and that she should never let a man put his hands on her in the wrong way?
You, as the father, change the lives of your children in ways that no one else on earth can. Ask my friends in the NFL. They’ll tell you. When you enter a room, your child’s world comes alive. When you shout, your children cower and the world crashes in on them. Your words and your being have power that cannot be exercised anywhere else as powerfully as in the eyes of your young children. You can talk to the members of the board at your company and they will wonder whether or not you are right. You can tell the children in your classroom to do their homework and maybe they will or maybe they won’t. Give your patients a prescription for an ulcer medication and they’ll look it up on the internet to make sure you know what you’re talking about.
But not your children. Tell them that you love them and swoop them up in your arms, and the world is a great place. Life is the best that it can ever be right then and there. Ask your child to go for a hike with you because you like her company and no one could ever tell her anything that would make her feel stronger.
Regardless how you feel about yourself as a father you must know this: you matter. You are needed, desperately and always. If you are estranged from your children because you have always been a workaholic, get your act together and call them. If you have hurt your children because you left their mother, start over and reach out to them. Begin right where you are to make life better for them. I promise one thing- not a day goes by without your children thinking about you. Maybe they hurt. Maybe they cry. Maybe they rage at you. Maybe they just miss you.
I do know one thing for sure after all these years of listening to kids and hearing my gigantic NFL friends pour out their hearts: no one can give them the confidence, love and strength that their father can. No one.
So good men, get to it.
Thank you all for supporting Dads 4 Life UK