So what is important for dads when it comes to Father’s Day? It’s easy for it to be reduced to gifts with few words – the classic cards and pressies on the usual masculine themes of sport, beer and gadgets.
Refreshing the Parts Beer can’t Reach…
But what refreshes the parts that beer can’t and that dads yearn for? How do you acknowledge your dad, and potentially help your kids acknowledge their dad, to bring the best out in this father bond? Having shared in my ‘Mother’s Day – Mens Eyes Only’ post about the importance for women to feel special, I imagine some of you were left wondering what I see as the equivalent for men?
To Feel Appreciated
Men yearn to feel appreciated.. for who they are and what they do. It means so much to my husband when I say “I appreciate you for X” rather than “I appreciate it”. When I truly appreciate him rather than the task or action.
If you are a man reading this, check it out – is it what you yearn to hear? How would it be to explain the value of hearing this to the women around you – whether your mum, your partner or children? If you are a woman, try saying it to your father or partner or son, and see what it creates in your relationship. Naturally, if we are already experiencing tension in a relationship it is very hard to give first, especially if we feel resentful or angry, but this can be just the way forwards if you are ready for a first step.
Our Power as Sons and Daughters
Steve Biddulph, a psychologist who supports men and families, has a few pages specifically on ‘What Fathers Wait to Hear’ in his book ‘Manhood‘. He speaks of how, whatever his style of fathering, a father waits all his life to know that his son loves and respects him. He names the enormous power we have as sons and daughters to acknowledge our parents. He also encourages us to talk honestly about how we feel about our relationship with our parents, talking through any negatives to be able to see and share the positives too and find a place of healing.
As many dads are less available for emotional discussions, a lot can be left unsaid and this is a loss all round. So risk a few more words alongside the gifts this fathers day. Consider a trip in the car where you have a captive audience without eye contact, or chatting as you do something you enjoy together without the intensity of ‘having a chat’.
Take the lead and give something unique this Father’s Day – greater connection.