All of us have made some real blunders in life….it's what we do with them that counts!

Posts tagged with "listening"

Normally, I like to blog about funny events in my life. Things that I find humorous or feel that someday my son might want to remember. I have found though, that many things in my life are equally as important to write about. I think they are still relevant and they might have a message that people will find valuable. Writing about various things might even be something that someday my son will read and say. “Thank you dad.”

I read lots of various things as times permits. I have read in the last week a lot about mom and dad bloggers. I read, what I consider, one of the best articles I have read in a long time about Mom Blogger Vs. Dad Bloggers. by Bruce Sallan on his website Bruce Sallan. He points out that moms and dads in the blogging world are different. Moms, in general, are much more connected, monetized and make a bigger difference in the world. Dads are just getting to know each other and aren’t as well-connected.

Today though, I read another piece that disheartened me a bit, Goodbye Twitter by Steve Marsh of  Father in Training. Steve talks about slipping away quietly in the night from twitter for lack of being heard by others. I haven’t followed Father in Training for that long but I do follow him! I followed him on twitter and his blog (he still has a blog.)

As a father, I want my son to know that I accept him and hear him in all things. I take the time to sit down, play, interact and talk to my son. I understand how important it is wanting others to hear you. We all want to feel accepted. I have read some of the best mom blogs and some of the best dad blogs and the common denominator is that they all care about what they do and share.

I try to take the time to reply to people on their blogs as I read them. If I don’t agree with something, that’s okay. We all have different opinions, thoughts and feelings. I don’t believe that we have to agree on everything. It’s not human nature for us to agree all the time. I still though, make an attempt every evening and often on my phone, reading various blogs and replying.

The dad community is really in its infancy. When I was growing up I was a latch-key kid (a child who returns from school to an empty house because their parents are working.) My own father was rarely home and often took a hands off approach in parenting. Since then, my father has taught me a lot. He told me not to miss out on my son growing up and he wished he hadn’t. If most people think dads shouldn’t be involved they are wrong. Fathers and mothers have to change the social norm. We have to tell people we will support each other and we will be heard for the sake of our children and a better future. We have to take the time to listen and support our differences as much as we do our commonalities.

I can tell you that I am a stay-at-home dad. I don’t mind saying that, either. I believe a lot of men have issues with the title of SAHD. Truthfully, it’s just words. We give them meaning to give them power. If men feel that the world judges them badly because they are involved in their children’s lives, we have a problem. Involvement is a child’s life should not be judgmental. The only way this is going to change is by stating, “I am a father and proud of the involvement with my child!”

I don’t want my son to grow-up in a world that believes that fathers aren’t heard. I don’t want him to be in a world where he feels he isn’t important (after all someday he could be a father.) Fathers are important! I will let my son know just how important a father is by being in his life, telling others that I matter and by supporting every father I can. Fathers need the support of each other. We also need the support from the mothers in the world. If we want our children to inherit a better world we need to show them that we all count. The true winners will be our sons and daughters when we are able to say we all matter.

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Fatherhood is constantly evolving.  It was just a few short decades ago that men were expected to go to work while their wives were expected to have children.  I can tell you that fathers are a intricate part of a child’s life.  Studies have shown, that a child, whose father is involved on a regular “healthy’ basis will do much better academically and socially.  Fatherhood has come a long way, the stigma is lessening in helping our children, knowing our children and loving our children.  We still have a long way to go though.  I thought today I would talk about one of these aspects.

I have always been told that men do not listen.  I am not sure how true or false this is but I  heard many people say that exact statement.  I know that I am the type person that tries to listen.  I have been forced into that role for many reasons.  As I started explaining the other day in TMI Tuesday my childhood dictated I had to listen. 

As a father I listen to my son to the best of my ability.  I can tell you that hearing your child and listening to your child are two very different things.  I hear when something goes bump in the night and awakens my son.  I listen when he tells me what it was that scared him about that bump in the night.  I could choose to just hear my son and stop listening but then I would miss so much of our journey. 

I believe men are fine tuned from childhood to be very good at hearing and that we are told we are not good at listening.  Even in my own home my wife can be guilty of saying the phrase, “You’re not listening to me.”  I know she means no harm by it because that is how she truly feels at that moment.  I always love her look of surprise when I can almost always tell her what she said to me.  My flaw in that situation is not responding quickly enough to her needs and hearing what she has to say is truly important to her fast enough.  We both put forth a lot of effort to try and change our behaviors. 

In my opinion though, the constant barge that happens in many homes is the standard saying of, “Your not listening to me.”  For a father this can have a negative impact on their relationship with their children.  Children want both parents to be role models for them.  If they think that one of their parent’s isn’t going to listen why should they tell them anything? 

I am not saying by any means that all men are listening.  I am saying for the sake of our kids we have to find better ways of communicating to each other in front of them.  I remember when I was a child it was my parents, teachers, adults who told me, “Your not listening to me.”  In fact what they were actually telling me was I am not doing what they wanted me to.  I was breaking a rule.  I wasn’t obeying.  It is statement we say to our children when they are not doing what we asked.  I question how we can be so quick to say it to a father or a mother.

We often say things without thinking the context through.  I know that there truly will be people, not just fathers, that won’t listen.  I just think we should be the ones to make some changes if others are not willing to.  I make an effort for my son to listen as much as possible to him and his mother.  I do have flaws and, I like everyone, always have room for improvement.  I try to recognize the importance of not wanting my son to be the next generation of men who are known for not listening.  If I truly want that to end I have to begin with myself.  All of us have a reason to change, the hard part is being willing to change.

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