Journey of Parenting
From the Headmaster’s Desk – ‘Journey Of Parenting’
Following on from Craig Wilkinson’s address to the boys on “Journey to Manhood’ Craig addressed large group of parents in the APMH on the topic of “Parenting”. I thought I would share the seence of his address with those who could not attend.
Motherhood, fatherhood, parenthood – it’s a parallel journey – what you don’t read about in a lot of manuals on how to be a great dad or how to be a great mom is the fact that it starts with how we are as men and women.
We can only give to our children what we have inside and what we do have inside we are going to impart whether we like it or not. If we have a heart full of love and compassion and goodness and godliness we will impart that. If we have a heart full of bitterness and anger and racism that will filter through.
Therefore the journey of being a father and being a mom starts with me as a man and you as a woman looking at ourselves.
Men and women are absolutely equal but stunningly different – men and women are of equal value equal respect – equal value in terms of our roles as parents our roles in society our roles as parents but there’s a difference.
The greatest role model for your child is their same gender parent. A boy will look to his father as a man to see how he ought to be as a man.
There is a lovely book by John Eldridge where he talks about the three desires core to the heart of every man, every boy: a desire for a battle to fight an adventure to live and a beauty to pursue.
Do I have what it takes to fight the battles I need to fight?
Do I have what it takes to live the adventures to actually win the heart of the beauty out there? That is a deep, deep question and many men have grown up without this question ever being answered.
Older men imparting to their son’s their wisdom and saying to their sons, “You’ve got what it takes! You can do this thing!” is essential.
There are men who grow up uninitiated into manhood without a man showing them what it means to be a man. This is a major problem as there are many young men who have absent fathers or no father at all and therefore they require a suitable male role model or mentor to take their place.
Ideally you want your son to become a man that you want your daughter to marry and at the same time raising them to be the man you want them to be and the woman you want them to be.
There four great gifts that we as parents can give our children:
1. The first of these great gifts is the gift of seeing and calling out your child.
Would you agree with me that every human being every person has this deep desire to be seen?
We have to have the capacity as parents to see what our kids are and who they are. We don’t write the script for our kids hearts as its already written on their hearts and their souls. Our job as parents is to read that script it’s to help them to read what’s already written on their souls and call out who they are because who they are is who they’re meant to be and if we try and make them what they’re not it’s could be disaster.
Do you know what your son’s favourite colour, meal, dessert, hero, movie, game and friends are?
2. The second great gift is the gift of validation. If our greatest desire is to be seen our second greatest desire is to be told that you’re okay and you’re good.
Psychologists talk about two kinds of validation. The first kind is being validated the second kind is doing. We as people need validation of who we are not what we do. If you take your son and daughter aside and you say you know you’re just such a great kid and they say why? Why? You just are. That’s the greatest gift you can give someone – Dad believes the world’s a better place because you’re here. Who you are is good and you have my blessing. It’s the most amazing gift that you can give your child and when do that they go out into the world being seen and known and being validated.
Gift number 1 see them call them out gift number 2 validate who they are.
3. The third great gift I’ll talk about is the gift of creating a sanctuary in which they can flourish and thrive. One of the words in the whole issue of creating a sanctuary is the father needs to nurture. There’s something so powerful about masculine nurturing. When a man creates what I call a lap of grace it’s this area around him which is area of grace – it means when your child comes into that territory, that area around you, he or she feels safe: they feel emotionally safe; they feel physically safe; they feel spiritually safe. The question what environment do I create when I walk into the house? What kind of environment do I create when my child comes near me? Is it an environment of love, affirmation, seeing, getting, understanding, grace, forgiveness? If it’s that kind of environment then they’ll want to hang out with you; that’s the kind of environment that nurtures their soul. It allows a boy to cry.
Sigmund Freud said that there is no greater need in childhood than the protection of the father. The father’s role is one to protect and to provide an environment of safety. Furthermore, we need to actually get into the lives of our children and understand their world because it’s a different world to the one we grew up in. We need to understand the dangers.
At all times know where your kids are, have them round and have a backup and have another look at their friends.
4th The final gift is the gift of equipping them for life and this is sometimes where moms struggle a bit more than dads – the whole empty nest syndrome. Our role as parents, our role, is to equip our children so that they don’t need us. That’s the bottom line. To equip them so much that they actually do not need us at all. And sometimes parents fail in it – you see a lot of parents – and this is where teachers and schools come up a lot of parents – fail to teach their children the character and a spiritual and emotional intelligence that they need to survive ; not just survive, but to thrive in life.
One of the biggest problems that modern parents have is that we put being friends with our children above being parents to our children and sometimes being a parent works against your friendship with your child. Sometimes you have to make the hard decisions.
You know what the good news is if you get it right: they don’t need you but they’ll always want you.
As you are equipping them for life there is the need to model. You see ultimately it’s not what we say to our children is it it’s what we do. You want your child to be disciplined, respectful of and to others, amongst men and others. These are the things that we need to model.
For us as dads our job is to be there. Be there in the boring moments in the day to day moments. Be there emotionally; be there spiritually; be there physically; be there for the highlights for the plays and the school plays and when they hit the home run or the six and they’re run out and they realise that they’re terrible at cricket – it’s to be there. And that’s really our job. And if we get that right we’re 90% on the way to being a great father. The start of it is to be there.