The refrain of Chris Tomlin’s song “Good, Good Father” often keeps playing in my mind and heart these days. Having stayed home for 3 months now, I am just thankful for how God has provided us a safe place where we could live and work and not feel confined. We could enjoy the nearby hill full of trees as we have put two chairs and a mini-table outside the living room window where we sometimes have “breakfast with a view”. We have been harvesting from the herbs, fruit trees, and soon the vegetables my farm-raised-husband has planted and tends daily in our yard. He has also put a netting around our gazebo so we could relax and have some dinner at times without being bothered by mosquitoes. We are indeed grateful to our good, good Father who keeps us safe and sane and provides for us in many ways!
Human fathers likewise love to bless and provide for their children. Somehow, good human fathers reflect the goodness of God to their children so that these children, in turn, are drawn to the Father. Fathers actively participating in family life have numerous positive effects on children and the family, as documented in many studies. I am blessed to be surrounded with young and old friends, colleagues, and our sons, who have done well or are doing well as tatay, dad, papa to their children. I asked a number of them some questions and their answers that I would like to share here, in honor of Father’s Day this Sunday. Their answers give fathers many practical ways to positively impact their children.
What lessons did you learn from your dad that you have passed on or are passing on to your children? A number of their answers have to do with simple daily living: “Live within your means. My tatay taught me to be frugal in spending money and be contented with what we have.” “Live a simple life. Live with integrity.” “Be practical & resourceful. No need to spend on luxurious items or branded items. Be content & be grateful to the Lord for what we have.” “Doing household chores. Giving household assignment and doing household chores to help lighten the workload at home.” “Playtimes even until adult years.” “Traveling together as a family. Meals together. Sense of humor.” “Affirming them for success and encouragement when they are down. Tatay’s one virtue is being diligently hardworking. He lives that out and taught us about it among other virtues.”
What things have you done with your kids that you did not experience with your dad? Their answers showed more affectionate and active involvement in their children’s lives. “Hugging and kissing, telling them I love them.” “Celebrating their birthdays, achievements with a simple meal …we use the time to appreciate the celebrants, affirm and bless them.” “Attending or participating in events that represent milestones in their lives.” “Playing a lot with my children.” “We travel together … exposed them to travel by ship, bus and airplane.” “We see to it that we attend family reunions to get to know the relatives.” “Going regularly as a family for ‘Get-aways, retreats & fun times.” “We practice regular Devotional time as a family especially when they were still young and even up to now.” “Allowing our children to go out with their friends … like attending birthdays, weddings of their friends.” “Training them to ask forgiveness & grand forgiveness by modeling it to them.”
What lessons have you learned after you have become a dad yourself? “I need to avoid over reacting in relating with my children. I should interact than react.” “I have to drop things & listen attentively when my children come to talk with me. I have learned to initiate by asking how they are doing and how I can help.” “Be generous about giving affirmations, but also be clear about things you don’t want and be firm of the consequences when he violates.” “I need to be more patient, gracious and accepting of their faults rather than condemning and lecturing them. I should not use intimidation tactics (yelling, raising voice) just to let them obey me.”
What the fathers learned from their dads reflected the less complicated life of the boomer generation – hard work, simple living, and contentment. Those laid a good stable foundation for these present dads to adapt and change to parenting the millennials and generations XYZ. They are more expressive in showing love, giving affirmations and expanded their repertoire to include travels, vacations, celebrations and playing games with their children. Because of their connectedness, these fathers have grown in their love relationship, impacting their children in deeper ways.
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