As we prepare for the Fathers Matter Forum in March, we want to highlight some of the organizations in our community that are dealing with the issue and working with at-risk youth. To sign up for one of the forum sessions, visit this link: Fathers Matter Forum Registration
This is a guest post from Candy Yoder, President/CEO of CAPS of Elkhart County.
Decidedly Different Dads
When I was invited to submit an article about fathers for DJ’s blog, I wondered how I, a social worker, could relate to workers in the construction field. I’ve never poured concrete, finished dry wall, or run electrical wires. And then it occurred to me – we are in the same business – building for the future. All of my professional career has been in the area of strengthening families – building safe and stable environments for children. I think the construction industry pays attention to safety and stability, too! And when I saw the tagline for DJ Construction – Decidedly Different – I realized that this is the quality our children deserve – decidedly different Dads!
Fathers create a strong foundation for their children. Children watch so closely what the adults around them are doing. You’ve heard the saying that values are “caught – not “taught”. Watching and listening is the way children learn so much — how to handle disappointment, failure, AND success. Values and attitudes that are “caught” from parents create the foundation for a child’s life. Sure, there are times that dads (and moms) mishandle situations. Maybe they react too strongly, or let their anger get the best of them. But THAT situation, and how Dad then recovers (apologizes, makes it right, fixes what’s broken) is also an important life lesson. These moments develop a foundation that serves the child into adulthood – a base from which they operate every day. A common saying sums it up well, “Every father should remember that some day his son will follow his EXAMPLE instead of his ADVICE.”
So what does it take to be a Decidedly Different Dad? I think the answer is very simple, although it might not come naturally. Our children need Dads to pay attention, to be present. Notice what the children are seeing and hearing. Notice what they are saying – with words and with actions. And then acknowledge that. Open the channel of communication, and watch the energy flow! Just SHOWING UP in your child’s life (and I don’t mean physically, but emotionally and intentionally) creates a Decidedly Different experience for a child. So when you read a book, read with enthusiasm and excitement. When you play a game, make it fun. When you’re driving them to and from activities, have a real conversation. Be intentional; and you will be building a foundation for a relationship that will last a lifetime!
About CAPS: Our mission is to ensure that every child lives a life free from abuse and neglect. CAPS accomplishes this through education, advocacy, and intervention with families and the community to support safe, stable, nurturing relationships for all children.