Sometimes it’s other guys who seem to have more of a primary effect on our kids, in certain ways. When I was in high school, two teachers in particular had just such an effect on me.
“But what does that have to do with being a dad?”, you might ask? Let me explain.
My wife and I have three kids under five. As they’ve grown, I’ve felt an ever-increasing sense of ownership and responsibility for everything in their lives.
If you’re a dad, no doubt you feel the same way. It’s totally natural. Indeed, there seems no end to the depth and scope of parenthood. It’s a “24 hour a day, 7 day a week, 365 days a year” sorta job, never far from the surface or far down the list of things we dads have to think about.
Regardless of their mother’s role in their lives — certainly primary and critical — you know deep down that their future relies heavily on the things you have to provide: the resources to give them shelter, food, clothes, but also protection, guidance, discipline, support, and love. Sometimes it’s the second to the last one on that list, “SUPPORT”, energized by love (as all those on the list should be), that we need to focus on.
Nearly as important as our “Dad Effect” are the nurturing relationships our children develop with other positive, male role models and mentors, and the supportive role we dads have in these situations.
Enter Mr. C and Mr. B.
During three, critical school years — 10th Grade to 12th Grade — my belief in myself as a student, and in particular as a writer, was established. I went from thinking I was average to believing I could deliver excellent work over those three years. I have Mr. C, and then Mr. B., to thank.
I had both teachers for several of my high school English classes. I had Mr. C all three years. Through both writing and literature classes Mr. C showed me how to improve my writing skills, and guided me along the way to do so. He also taught me how to analyze literary works, and how to explain myself coherently and succinctly.
Mr. B. took my writing to yet another level of creativity and scope. He showed me the importance of drafts and their development, the very process of getting the mixed up, muddled up thoughts in my head onto the page, and have it all makes sense at the end. He also taught me about not taking myself too seriously.
But here’s the secret.
My dad’s support was super important to how my relationship developed with each of these key, male figures in my adolescent life. He knew both men pretty well, and my dad’s positive reactions, favorable comments, and support of my relationships with Mr. C and Mr. B made those relationships flourish.
The take-away for all us who are dads now?
We need to be aware and supportive of other important, mentor relationships that help our children develop. This approach also supports our children. Dads are critical role models and protectors to their kids. Our opinion is also important to our kids. Stalwart support in all manner goes a long way in helping our children find their way in life.