by Gerald Boerner

  

JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Today, we wrap up our consideration of Father’s Day, focusing on some of the characteristics that make a Good Father. This is second year that we have brought you this series. It is a holiday that was proposed to be a companion of Mother’s Day. It has not received the same press as has Mother’s Day, probably because of the very close bond between mothers and their children.

This is a post from what we did last year in looking at parenthood. We hope that as you read this and the subsequent posts that you will gain new and fond appreciations for our fathers. They have provided us with the support and love that has nurtured us through the good and bad times.

Let us renew our commitment to become the best fathers that we can be to our own children and not make the mistakes that may have been made by our own fathers. GLB

[ This is Part 7 of 7. ]

[ 2976 Words ]

    

“That he delights in the misery of others no man will confess, and yet what other motive can make a father cruel?”
— Joseph Addison

“My father was a boxer, though. So, I have a particular interest in Ray Mancini, I think.”
— Warren Zevon

“James Brown became my father. He would talk to me the way a father talked to a son. He became the father I never had.”
— Al Sharpton

“I think I’ve always been somebody, since the deaths of my father and brother, who was afraid to hope. So, I was more prepared for failure and for rejection than for success.”
— Amy Tan

“And I remember leaving my place in L.A. and – my father is a big fight fan – and I said, ‘Dad, I got a couple of days off and I’m getting ready to go to Houston to sign to fight Muhammad Ali.”
— Wilt Chamberlain

“Motivation aside, if people get better at these life skills, everyone benefits: The brain doesn’t distinguish between being a more empathic manager and a more empathic father.”
— Daniel Goleman

“My parents had this relationship that was really terrifying. I mean, the level of hatred that they had, and the level of physical abuse – my mother would beat up my father, basically – and I think I was drawn to images on television that were bright and reflective.”
— Augusten Burroughs

“If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher.”
— Abdul Kalam

  

Father’s Day: Characteristics of a Good Father

I want to provide my own reflections on Fatherhood. It has been  a incredible journey that I made with a loving wife and to great daughters. Following that, we have included some thoughts of watching my little girls grow into a little boy or girl. GLB

(The following Personal Reflections on Fatherhood to this blog on Sunday, June 21, 2009)

Happy Father’s Day…

“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.”
— Mark Twain, 1874 (‘Old Times on the Mississippi’, Atlantic Monthly)

Jerry_8thGradeGraduation On this special day, let’s look what a great resource fathers are to their children. Not only do they help us learn the basic male tasks — how to throw a ball, how to shave, how to drive a car/truck. They also teach us essential skills for survival (along with their mothers, of course): How to build a bookcase or how to paint a wall; he may not be a carpenter, but he tries to help us master those tasks and safely use tools (especially power tools). But so often we forget, as we enter our teen years, how smart and how experienced our fathers are…

We need to keep perspective. When we become teenagers, we think that we know it all and that we are “indestructible and immune from danger.” We don’t have to look both ways before crossing the street. We don’t need to dress warmly before going out in the cold or put on sun screen before going out in the sun. But we are destructible and danger can befall us at any time. What can fathers (and mothers, for that matter) do during this ‘growing’ period? They can gently remind us to put on a coat or put on sun sceen or tell us to look both ways before crossing the street; we may have to say it more than once! Fathers have practical experience, common sense, and a concern for our childrens’ comfort and safety…

“By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.”
— Charles Wadsworth

How generations change. My father grew up on a farm. He had responsibilities for the live stock (cows, horses, etc.) During the harvest season, he was needed as a helping hand to his father. Through this process, he learned to trust and respect his father and his efforts. But today, a day in which information becomes the content of our harvests, book knowledge takes the place of hands-on experience and many children never learn to take responsibility of themselves, no less a pet. These children have more ‘facts’ at their disposal — through their books, computer access to the Web, and their education and degrees. The fathers of today still have experience and common sense on their side. What a difference a generation makes…

Although my father only completed high school and never worked on a computer, but he was smart. The thing a teenager doesn’t realize is that fathers and children can teach each other. Sometimes this does not happen until we become twenty-somethings or have children of our own. By walking together and sharing our own store of information, we can grow together. The relationships and roles are similar, but the specifics are different. Our children will no doubt also experience this quantum leap as their children grow into teenagers. As Sean Connery said in the third “Indiana Jones” movie something to the effect: ‘just when you got interesting [could converse with the father], you left home!’ Let’s not repeat this cycle with our own children…

“The thing to remember about fathers is, they’re men. A girl has to keep it in mind: They are dragon seekers, bent on improbable rescues. Scratch any father, you find Someone chock full of qualms and romantic terrors, Believing change is a threat Like your first shoes with heels on, like your first bicycle It took such months to get.”
— Phyllis McGinley

Growing up is frightening for both the child and the parent. It is essential that we grow together, that we talk, that we walk along life’s road so that we can learn and share our experiences. Just remember, I’m not trying to keep you from experiencing life! As a father, I would like to help you avoid some of the major screw-ups that I have made and let you experience real life within this context. Like history, not knowing (or be forewarned about pitfalls) of the past dooms us to repeat those ourselves.

Lets walk and talk and learn together. Let’s be friends…

[ Some additional Thoughts on Fatherhood ]

As I reflect back on my growing up years, especially those during and after the breakup of my parent’s marriage, I have to thank the Good Lord for several male influences that played the role of father, to some extent, in my life. During high school, Ken Baughman (who lived across the street) took me under his arm and was a friend and mentor. Several teachers also filled the role of mentor as well, specifically I think of Mr. Foxworthy, Mr. Rice, and Mr. Ross. During college, a good friend, Jim Marrington (who was much older) provided me with guidance and support. And probably the most important influence was my Department Chair at APU, Mr. Wendel Scarbrough who was both a colleague and mentor; he was probably more of a father to me than my own father.

9734Why mention these supporters? Because we all have probably had people who have helped us during hard times that we don’t think about. On this Father’s Day would be a good time to think about them and say a prayer of thanks for their presence during our developmental years and in our careers.

And finally, I would like to bring two others to your attention. While they were not in my life, they deserve special thanks on this day. The first is the single mother who must be both mother and father to their children; their task is hard and often goes without recognition. The second group are the adoptive fathers and step-fathers who step into the role of father, not by biology, but by their love and caring for the children of others. In both of these cases, we owe them a great big — THANK YOU!

Characteristics of a Good Father

The Kids Are Our Future blog, in it’s article “Review on Characteristics of a Good Parent by North American Culture”, lists a number of characteristics that should help all fathers establish a good relationships with their sons (and daughters), especially during the toddler stage. It is included here for your convenience, but check out this posting as well as others at her web site listed in the “References” section below. GLB

“I’m quite sensitive to women. I saw how my sister got treated by boyfriends. I read this thing that said when you are in a relationship with a woman, imagine how you would feel if you were her father. That’s been my approach, for the most part.”
— Orlando Bloom

Review on Characteristics of a Good Parent
by North American Culture

IstiandMateinfrontyard_thumb I read some North American’s books, articles and blogs on the topic, “What makes a good parent?” and made a summary as the following.

A person who loves his or her children unconditionally

Children need a lot of attention, time and love. Love is the great motivator to raise a happy child. Love your children no matter what happens even sometimes they may disappoint you, anger you, or even disrespect you, but even during those times your children should know that they are loved by you. Because your children are in developmental stages, they need your love and support.

Show love to your children everyday. A gentle cuddle, a little encouragement, appreciation, approval or even a smile can boost the confidence and well-being of your children.

A role model

4318_1045026019568_1643173921_141726_5181847_n Children emulate their parents. As a parent, you are your children’s first role model. Pay attention to what you say and what you do around them and think about what kind of example you are making. Model the behavior and character you hope your children will adopt and live by the rules you set.

A good listener

Express your interest in your children and listen to their feelings, reactions, and opinions. Try to understand their point of view.

A good friend

A good parent enjoys and wants to play with his or her children. No matter how busy you are, you should spend time with your kids as possible as you can. Children, especially at a young age, learn a lot through play. For teenagers, talks to them frequently like a friend. For example, at dinner times talk to them about their school, and share your experiences with them as well.

A good mentor

A good parent will teach his or her children the value of life to inform and advise them on what is right and wrong. While as a mentor, a parent should let the child to choose which path to take as long as he or she is capable to do it, but must be aware that you give the child all the information. A parent must allow the child to make his or her own decisions and to enable the child to make his or her own mistakes as well.

When your child acts out in a harmful and spiteful manner, avoid criticism by focusing on his or her behavior, tell the child that such behavior is unacceptable and suggest right ways. Avoid public humiliation. If your child misbehaves in public, take him or her aside, and scold your child privately.

A person who respects his or her child’s individuality

parenting-advice Avoid comparing your children to others, especially siblings. Each child is individual and unique. Celebrate their differences and instill in each child the desire to pursue their interests and dreams.

Teach your children that it is okay for them to be different and they do not have to follow the crowd. Teach them right from wrong when they are young, and they will always be able to make their own decisions, instead of listening to others.

Recognize your children’s individuality. Every child is unique. Even though your children may resemble you, they are not you. Consider the individuality of each child a blessing and pursue ways to expand on that. Open your mind to the possibilities.

An education promoter

Invest your children’s education, both intellectual and moral. Make sure your children can read and write and think well. Be bravely counter-cultural wherever necessary. Discourage obsession with dating and romance. Protect your vulnerable children from the most damaging aspects of your popular culture.

A person who promotes discipline

2851_1038608179126_1643173921_128887_6839143_n Discipline your children. Choose the method that works best for your children. Set boundaries such as bedtimes, so they learn that they have limitations. By doing so, they actually get a sense of being loved and cared about by their parents. They might rebel at those boundaries, but inwardly enjoy knowing that concerned parents love them. Limit TV and internet use. No kid needs a TV in his or her room. And it’s rarely advisable to allow an internet capable computer in a child’s room. Keep the entertainment machinery in family areas, and supervise its use.

Enforce rules that apply to every person leading a happy and productive life. Be consistent and enforce the same rules all the time, and resist your child’s attempts to manipulate you into making exceptions. Communicate clearly to your children. Children should be very familiar with the consequences of their actions. If you give them a punishment, be sure they understand the reason and the fault.

A person who promotes independence

Do not routinely do things for your children that they can learn to do for themselves. Encourage responsibility by insisting they clean their room and make their bed every morning. Even the youngest of children can learn to tidy their room and clean up their toys. As your child grows, give them more responsibility.

A person who has good self-control

When you are in bad mood, control your temper well.

A book lover

Provide lots of good books to your children. Start to read to your children early, and encourage kids to read as much as they can.

A flexible person with principles

Grandfather Allow children to experience life for themselves, but do not just lose total control. Do not make decisions for them all the time; they must learn how to live so that they are ready when they are adults.

Do not strictly follow the parental behaviors of your culture or other defining factor. Each child is individual and each parent loves their child. Please do not believe that there is only one way to raise a child.

Life is a great teacher. If the consequences are not overly severe, do not be too quick to rescue your child from the results of their own actions.

Do not push your child into pursuits that they are not interested in. Because parents often want the best for their children and assume that their idea is always what is best, they tend to push kids. Let the children choose their extra curricular pursuits.

A person who works together with school

Be involved in the school. Visit your child’s teachers at open house, and get to know them. Ask questions regarding how your child is performing and interacting with other students. Make sure that you are checking homework, but not doing it for your child. Ask your child questions about his or her day and find out what he or she likes and dislikes on his or her learning experience.

Be involved and proactive in getting to know the environment of the children that your child attaches to. Get to know the other children and their parents. Your child will learn many things from his or her friends and be affected by them as well.

An optimist

96b_better_living Praise your children as possible as you can. Celebrate the good thing your child has done, even the small things in a positive way.

A patient person

No one is perfect, children make mistakes as adults do. Be patient to your children’s setbacks, give them your support, never give up.

It is very difficult to judge a parent on the way that they choose to raise their children. Each parent has his or her own impression of what makes a parent a good parent or a bad one. As long as the child is healthy and happy, then the parents are doing the best that they can. Good parents are not judged by how much money they spend on their child but by how much love they give to their child.

     

Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Kids Are Our Future: Review on Chracteristics of a Good Parent by North American Culture… 
http://www.parents-and-kids.com/blog/en/2008/10/review-on-characteristics-of-a-good-parent-by-american-culture/

Brainy Quote: Father Quotes…
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/father_7.html