“A father is neither an anchor to hold us back nor a sail to take us there, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way.”
With Father’s Day just a few days away, I can’t help but think of my own father — a man with the biggest heart who loved his family dearly.
Though he is no longer with us today, the important lessons he left behind lives on.
These lessons made a significant impact on my life.
And so, I wish to pass them on to my sons in the hopes that they may extract whatever they wish to from these lessons and use them where possible to live their best lives.
Now, there are some lessons from my father I’ve kept as is, and some I’ve changed to more appropriately reflect the times and the teachings I’ve picked up along the way.
Lesson #1: Everyone has the right to a higher education
My father encouraged my siblings and I to continue investing in our education, be it formal or that relating to relationships, human behavior, and self-growth. He always said to us, “Nobody can take your education away from you.”
Lesson #2: Giving your time to another human being is a priceless gift
As a man who placed a high importance on family, my father spent quality time with each of his children, even when we became adults. Watching him, I learned that time is a valuable commodity, that when given to loved ones, enables relationships with them to flourish.
Lesson #3: Conflict is an essential, inevitable component of all relationships
Conflict and confrontation were two things my father avoided as far as possible. However, I’ve learned that conflict is essential to all healthy relationships as it brings about growth. A relationship that avoids conflict is one that is possibly built on excessive carefulness and walking-on-eggshells behavior, with one or both parties bending over backward just to keep the peace.
Lesson #4: Share equal power with your life partner
My father always insisted on taking the lead — he would drive the car, do all the banking, and make important decisions that impacted my mother, which she did not appreciate. As a result, she felt vulnerable and unsure of herself when he died.
Seeing how the leading role my father took affected my mother’s independence, I learned that equal power in relationships is of paramount importance.
This Father’s Day (and every other Father’s Day thereafter), let us honor the fathers and father figures in our lives.
Let us express our heartfelt gratitude to them for being a guiding presence in our lives.
For passing on life lessons we can pass on to our kids.
And for loving us.
If Father’s Day is generally a difficult day for you or your kids because of the perception that a father is missing/not present in your life/your kids’ lives, I invite you to try the following:
- Identify what exactly is “missing” by virtue of a father not being around.
(Perhaps it is goodnight hugs or solid fatherly advice.)
- Look at all the different people (men or women, old or young) playing out the role of the father.
(Perhaps a sibling gives goodnight hugs now or an uncle provides “fatherly” advice.)
- Identify the benefits of having these different forms (all the different people) play out the role of the father.
(Perhaps having a sibling give goodnight hugs allows you/your child to grow closer to this sibling and develop a stronger bond.)
Watch this video to learn more about the above three steps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NE7de015QtY
And if Father’s Day has brought up some unresolved emotions you have toward your father/the father figure in your life, or if you would like more guidance on how to find the “new forms” of the “missing” father/father figure in your life, drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or send me a WhatsApp.
I would love to be of service to you.
Wishing all you fathers a blessed Father’s Day!
From my heart to yours,