Fathers are being recognized today for the special role they are called to play in the lives of their family. Some of us grew up in homes where our dad was always present and served as a role model. Others may not know who their father is or lived without him because of death or divorce.
Regardless of the memories you carry of your dad, I hope you will consider the kind of leader you are now as a father, or aspiring one. Here are three ways fathers can lead.
- Our legacy as fathers is to model compassion, to prepare our hearts to receive our children wherever their journeys may take them, and forgive them from the heart. This forgiveness must be unconditional – no apologies needed, no excuses offered. There is a certain level of emptiness when our children, regardless of age, disappoint us. It is hard to patiently wait for them to find their way. Yet fathers (and mothers) must model compassion in our grief, forgiveness in our disappointment, and generosity that is extended without strings attached.
- Fathers must be authentic and vulnerable. My dad taught me that it’s okay for a man to show emotion in private and in public. Tears shed in a vulnerable, unassuming way are a wonderful gift. I learned that being strong isn’t measured by how stoic and brave one can be, but rather by the depth of one’s love and capacity to empathize with others.
- A father’s role is less about doing something for your children and more about being someone they can emulate and learn from. A listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, a place to return to – these are the gifts every parent has to offer. Fathers bless their children when they have the courage to say, “I’m sorry” and ask for forgiveness. Telling them “I love you” on a regular basis are important words for every child to hear.
I hope every man who reads this blog will consider the kind of leader you are now as a dad, or the one you aspire to be someday. It’s not too late to change your attitude and behavior as a father.
We all dream of our children pausing from their work or play to remember us as the one leader they can call dad.