Thank God for Dads.
My husband is a wonderful Dad. Surferman loves his son so much and it shows. Grom loves Da like no other. He lights up when Surferman finally gets home from work. They laugh and wrestle and carry on.
Surferman and Grom have games I can't play and will never understand. They "dirt surf" together - Grom balances on an old bodyboard while Daddy pulls him over the dirt burm at the back of our house. Neighbors stop and watch as a toe headed boy giggles his way over dirt waves.
Surferman is far from the perfect father. We (I) have rules that I need to constantly remind him of. An example of one of the rules is... "Don't do anything with Grom that makes people gasp". He has to be reminded of this rule often - he loves to get reactions out of folks- like when he throws Grom towards the moon, does a 360 and then catches him - all while eating an ice cream cone that he then shares with "the baby".
I found this article, A Mom's Guide to Letting Dad be Dad, at America's Family Coaches.
Here's the high points and some of the things I need to work on.
Relational Fathering. Moms long for their husbands to snuggle, hug, kiss, or verbally express how much they care for their children. To some men, relational fathering can be the most threatening aspect of fathering. Here’s how to boost his confidence:
1. Leave Him Alone with the Kids.
2. Establish Special Traditions.
Surferman has this part of fathering down. He is affectionate and attentive. He craves time with Grom and often sends me off so that I can have some time to myself.
Personal Fathering. Each father will do fathering his own way. Mom’s job? Step back and let him! He might dry his son’s hiney off with a bib because it’s the closest object. He might take his kids fishing or teach them to use the computer at age three because those are “his things.” The point is, your husband will father in a way that is unique to his personality. Our job as moms is to let dads discover their own style and then get out of their way while they practice it.
1. Free Him!
2. Honor Him!
3. Appreciate Him!
Here is where I need some help and prayers. I can be controlling. My way is the right way. I can be critical and he hears all about it. I can be ungrateful. I don't know how good I have it.
Spiritual Fathering. Fathers influence the faith of their children. Sigmund Freud claimed that a child’s psychological representation of his father is intimately connected to his understanding of God. Moms want dads to take a spiritual role in the family, but most men find themselves held back by feelings of inadequacy. Try these 2 tactics to encourage him to be intentional:
1. Pray for Him.
2. Show Him Jesus.
I can't pray enough for my husband. He deserves more than my last fleeting prayers thrown out to God as I drift off to sleep.
Source: (Elisa Morgan and Carol Kuykendall, Make Room for Daddy (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 133-146)