What does “father energy” offer a child that enables him or her to grow into a mature and responsible adult? What elements are necessary in a child’s life, which uniquely flow from a father and that offer balance and emotional wholeness in the child’s development?
Beyond the practical matters of bringing home an income in order to support children materially and medically, fathers establish an almost mystical relationship with their children. Unlike mothers, children view their fathers as bigger than life. They are powerful figures, both in stature and in strength.
My hope in this blog series is to highlight central elements of engagement between nurturing men and children. I am also trusting that those of us who miss important elements of our fathers’ love will begin a healing process. We as adults can parent the inner child who is crying out for integration and healing of the “father wound.”
The following is a short list of what I view as central and unique to fathers’ contribution to children:
- Learning to be in their bodies. Children learn to become comfortable in their bodies as extensions of their psyches through their fathers’ example and energy.
- Offering a relational stability. Offspring know in their hearts that a mother’s love prevents her from willingly abandoning her children. A father’s choice to support and nurture his family completes the cycle of stability.
- Showing unconditional acceptance. Children need to feel that they are living up to their father’s expectations. A son or daughter perceives themselves as not measuring up can carry this wound all their lives.
- Sharing masculine love. Masculine love is as unique as feminine love. Both are necessary and complementary to a child’s development and offer varying facets of mutual respect.
- Exploring the world with wonder and awe. Fathers can open the world to their children with a unique perspective of adventure and exploration.
- Learning how to be safe. Fathers teach their children how to defend themselves ethically and how to win an argument by first gaining self-respect.
- Respecting the opposite sex. Boys and girls need a father’s love in order to develop healthy relationships and appropriate sexual boundaries.
- Teaching ethical standards, a good conscience, and honesty in communication. A father’s perspective in dealing with teams, jobs, and friendship is a necessary counterpoint to that modeled by mothers.
- Masculine spirituality. Relating to the transcendent in a man’s singular fashion offers important possibilities for children in their own sense of self as they relate to the universe.
So….what do you think? Anything to add? Comments?
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