I'm a Dad. I'm a Dad of 2 kids. I'm a Dad of 2 kids that are constantly teaching me something. While this is website is about art, I am first a Dad, Husband, Son, Friend... art and architecture is what I do.
My daughter, our oldest, has dreams. Huge dreams. These are dreams that on the surface would seem impossible, except that there is something about her and her story that makes think "I can really see her doing that." Actually our son is the same way, but I'll get to those in a later post. But, I want to share something that I learned several years ago, that had a profound impact in my life and my relationship with my daughter. And I almost forgot...
Several years ago I was at a church event with a group of guys listening to a speaker talk about roles of dads. I confess I was only half listening until she said, "Your job is to speak life to them, like Adam in the Garden naming the animals. Your job is to declare life, hope and meaning over your kids..." I don't remember anything else the speaker said, but I vividly remember sitting there and that phrase hitting me like a ton of bricks. And I put it into practice. For a while.
I remember a conversation she and I had when she was dealing with a hard coach. I told her what I see in her, how I think about her, and how I saw the situation through the filter of those two things... it was like watching a wilted flower come to life.
Then, I let that truth start to slip.
Recently I've felt a bit of a distance from my daughter. I figured it was just the season of life. Homework, school, sports, job, chores, just plain life are all things that can distract from my true purpose.
She needed to hear from me. She needed to hear what I think of her, the greatness I see in her, how she is uniquely gifted, what I thought of her goals. The distance was instantly gone. She opened up about the challenges she's facing, and about what she really wants in life. Wow.
And, it wan't a passing moment. She will seek me out hang out with me. All because I took some time and shared my heart with her about how I thought about her.
Step 2 is reinforcement. What can I do to reinforce what I said? It goes beyond just words. Now it's about action. There are tangible things I can help her with and enable her to do, but she's also looking what I do in my own life. Am I living in fear or faith? Am I talking to others with kindness and respect or in judgement? Man, it's hard.
Third is consistency. I don't want to have drive-by parenting moments. I want to be the Dad that's plugged in. That will listen and be slow to speak. That's a big one, because I want to fix everything. I want to check the problem off the to-do list. Done. But, sometimes I need to just listen. Tell her what I see in her, and that I'm proud of her.
I gotta go listen to the latest Hunter Hayes song with her. I would love to hear any thoughts you have