DAD : A son’s first hero, a daughter’s first love

“Father! To God Himself we cannot give a holier name.” said William Wordsworth. His values embraced family, reveled in the social mingling of the kitchen, and above all, welcomed the loving disorder of children. Fathers, like mothers, are not born. Men grow into fathers and fathering is a very important stage in their development. I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom. Until you have a son of your own , you will never know the joy beyond joy, the love beyond feeling that resonates in the heart of a father as he looks upon his son.

You will never know the sense of honor that makes a man want to be more than he is and to pass something good and hopeful into the hands of his son. And you will never know the heartbreak of the fathers who are haunted by the personal demons that keep them from being the men they want their sons to be.Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers, and singers of song.

Fathers are vital for development of children’s social skills, their relationships with peers and friends, their capacities to resolve conflict and their abilities to concentrate. Dad is also an important provider of social opportunities in the outside world. He is, in short, a route to resilience and children’s lifelong success at home and beyond. Dads can provide secure attachment, sensitive play and opportunities in the world that support children’s social and emotional learning..

The role of fathers in social and emotional learning begins with infants’ early attachment. Having secure attachment with fathers as well as mothers in infancy bequeaths long-term benefits in terms of social skills. It is the start of a lengthy, continuous process that leads to other patterns of interactions, notably during play.

Children’s play with their fathers is no idle pastime. It is often the physical context in which children develop social skills they need to make and keep friends. It provides the guidebook for how to manage relationships. Good father play is also linked to social skills such as politeness and the capacity to display a positive attitude in the face of disappointment. In short, children gain a package of social and emotional learning in their interactions with their fathers that they can apply to a variety of situations.

Children who are securely attached to both their mothers and fathers typically expect that the world will be a positive place and will respond to them in positive ways. Well-adapted children typically have fathers who advise them about and exemplify how to repair relationships, solve problems and rectify past wrongs.

Mothers are, of course, very important for children’s emotional development and managing relationships with friends. However, their contributions often take a different form. They are more likely to provide the language or vocabulary of emotion and to deliver it in a didactic/teaching format. Fathers tend more to provide their social and emotional learning in an interactional/playful context and in less linguistic form.

The nature of impending fatherhood is that you are doing something that you’re unqualified to do, and then you become qualified while doing it. One of the greatest things a father can do for his children is to love their mother. That is the thankless position of the father in the family—the provider for all, and the enemy of all. Every father should remember one day his son will follow his example, not his advice. A boy needs a father to show him how to be in the world. He needs to be given swagger, taught how to read a map so that he can recognize the roads that lead to life and the paths that lead to death, how to know what love requires, and where to find steel in the heart when life makes demands on us that are greater than we think we can endure. Fathers don’t tell you how to live. They live and let you watch him do it .

 ‘Father’ is the noblest title a man can be given. It is more than a biological role. It signifies a patriarch, a leader, an exemplar, a confidant, a teacher, a hero, a friend. Noble fathers have noble children.The father who does not teach his son his duties is equally guilty with the son who neglects them. Life doesn’t come with an instruction book — that’s why we have fathers.Fathers, you are your daughter’s hero. My father was my hero. I used to wait on the steps of our home for him to arrive each night. He would pick me up and twirl me around and let me put my feet on top of his big shoes, and then he would dance me into the house. I loved the challenge of trying to follow his every footstep. I still do.

Fathers have an important role in the development of a child as mothers. Fatherhood turns out to be a complex and unique phenomenon with huge consequences for the emotional and intellectual growth of child. Fathers “love more dangerously” because their love is more “expectant, more instrumental” than a mother’s love.2 A father brings unique contributions to the job of parenting a child that no one else can replicate. Following are some of the most compelling ways that a father’s involvement makes a positive difference in a child’s life.

Fathers parent differently.

This diversity, in itself, provides children with a broader, richer experience of contrasting relational interactions. Whether they realize it or not, children are learning, by sheer experience, that men and women are different and have different ways of dealing with life, other adults and children. This understanding is critical for their development.

Fathers play differently.

Fathers tickle more, they wrestle, and they throw their children in the air (while mother says . . . “Not so high!”). Fathers chase their children, sometimes as playful, scary “monsters.”

Fathers build confidence.

Go to any playground and listen to the parents. Who is encouraging kids to swing or climb just a little higher, ride their bike just a little faster, throw just a little harder? Who is encouraging kids to be careful? Mothers protect and dads encourage kids to push the limits.

Either of these parenting styles by themselves can be unhealthy. One can tend toward encouraging risk without consideration of consequences. The other tends to avoid risk, which can fail to build independence and confidence. Together, they help children remain safe while expanding their experiences and increasing their confidence.

Fahers discover Your Strengths and Weaknesses as a Parent

Good parents aren’t perfect. And that’s okay. There’s no formula to follow, but there are ways you can grow every day. In order to be a great parent, it is important to first know and evaluate how you are doing.

Fathers communicate differently.

While Mothers will simplify their words and speak on the child’s level. Men are not as inclined to modify their language for the child. The mother’s way facilitates immediate communication; the father’s way challenges the child to expand her vocabulary and linguistic skills .

Fathers discipline differently.

Educational psychologist Carol Gilligan tells us that fathers stress justice, fairness and duty (based on rules), while mothers stress sympathy, care and help (based on relationships). Fathers tend to observe and enforce rules systematically and sternly, teaching children the consequences of right and wrong. Mothers tend toward grace and sympathy, providing a sense of hopefulness. Again, either of these disciplinary approaches by themselves is not good, but together, they create a healthy, proper balance.

Fathers prepare children for the real world.

Involved dads help children see that attitudes and behaviors have consequences. For instance, fathers are more likely than mothers to tell their children that if they are not nice to others, kids will not want to play with them. Or, if they don’t do well in school, they will not get into a good college or secure a desirable job. Fathers help children prepare for the reality and harshness of the world.

Fathers provide a look at the world of men.

Men and women are different. They eat differently. They dress differently. They cope with life differently. Girls and boys who grow up with a father are more familiar and secure with the curious world of men. They also have a healthy familiarity with the world of men — they don’t wonder how a man’s facial stubble feels or what it’s like to be hugged by strong arms. This knowledge builds emotional security and safety from the exploitation of predatory males.

Boys who grow up with dads are less likely to be violent. They have their masculinity affirmed and learn from their fathers how to channel their masculinity and strength in positive ways. Fathers help sons understand proper male sexuality, hygiene and behavior in age-appropriate ways. As noted sociologist David Popenoe explains, “Fathers are far more than just ‘second adults’ in the home. Involved fathers — especially biological fathers — bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is as likely to bring.

A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society. Fathering is not something perfect men do, but something that perfects the man. Some day you will know that a father is much happier in his children’s happiness than in his own. I cannot explain it to you: it is a feeling in your body that spreads gladness through you. A child enters your home and for the next twenty years makes so much noise you can hardly stand it. The child departs, leaving the house so silent you think you are going mad.

My dad is my best friend, my father, and my guide. When I do something that is exciting and he likes it, it feels three times as good as you can imagine. My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me. And I always say this.

Here’s wishing lots of love and respect to all our fathers and Good luck to those stepping into fatherhood. Here’s to our fathers  dressed in those invisible capes – “We love you !”

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Sonali Gupta

About the Author

Sonali Gupta

A Banker by profession, a Blogger and a content writer by passion, Sonali is a Gold medalist in Management as a post-graduate and an economics graduate. A painter and nature lover, she's passionate for art and photography. She finds peace and calmness in words inscribed on paper. She has written blogs, articles, newsletters, quotes, poetries ,stories, technical and financial content as a professional. Of all the things in the world, she likes to fall for a pen and paper each time because Writing is her favorite escape. She's a self motivated and a self driven person and loves to inspire and motivate people. She believes in 'doing what you love and loving what you do'.

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