by Michael Mitchell
I’ve written a lot on one of my other blogs on the many qualities I think of when I think about what makes a man a REAL man. Qualities like generosity, courage, simplicity, contentment, strength, and many others. And in many ways, those same general qualities also apply to being a dad.
Even so, as I’ve become more comfortable in my role as a new father, I’ve begun to ponder what it really takes to be a good father. Thankfully, I had a pretty good example in my own old man and so that’s been helpful, but (much like everything in life) I want to come up with my own set of standards for the kind of dad I want to be. With that in mind, I’ve started a list (for some reason, I’m really into lists these days) of what I think it means to be a REAL dad. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
1. A real dad gets on the floor and plays with his children.
2. A real dad looks for ways to add joy to his children’s lives.
3. A real dad is intentional about setting loving, but firm boundaries for his children.
4. A real dad doesn’t blow up at his kids.
5. A real dad is there.
6. A real dad is willing to drop whatever he’s doing from time to time just to be in the presence of his child.
7. A real dad protects, stands up, and fights for his kids.
8. A real dad gives his children increasingly more freedom to explore and test themselves the older they get.
9. A real dad imparts wisdom to his children.
10. A real dad is interested in the lives of his children.
11. A real dad seeks to know his children by asking lots of open ended questions without making them feel like they are being interrogated. Continue reading What makes a REAL dad?
by Joey Rodman
There was a time when my youngest would tell people that when she grew up, she was going to be a bear. She did not mean that she would dress up like a bear, or that she would be aggressive, or that she would marry someone and change her last name to “Bear”….she meant she would literally become a bear. If you pressed her a bit she would tell you that she was going to be a “Brown Bear” like in Eric Carle’s book. She was 2.
I often became annoyed with people who would tell her that she could not, in fact, “be a bear” when she grew up. I felt like either she already knew this on some level and they were underestimating her intelligence, or she really did believe people could become bears and they were squashing her childhood wonder. I often battled back and forth between these two poles in my anger toward the idiots who would say “people can’t be bears.” This was amplified by the fact that just about any of them would turn around a few minutes later and tell that she could be “whatever she wanted to be” when she grew up.
The child wanted to be a bear. I was not going to tell her she couldn’t. I was interested in finding out how she planned to do this.
She is now 7 and if you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up she will tell you that it is “a stupid question.” Everyone knows, or should, that “…she is queen of the world. While she’s not technically ‘in office’ at the time being, her existence is not predicated on popular opinion of her political power. She is queen of the world. When she is older, everyone will realize this. Right now, we’re all too stupid to ‘get it’ and for that she pities us.”
She is told over and over by any adult around her (save her father and me) that she can’t “grow up and be queen of the world” because it’s not possible. There is no queen of the world. She will of course explain to them that not only is there a queen of the world, but they’re looking at her right now.
I tell you this because I think it’s a symptom of our bigger problem. Not only do we think that things are the way they are because they are “supposed to be that way” but we fail to imagine that anything will really ever drastically change. This type of willful amnesia annoys me the most.
Continue reading On Being a Bear