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Fathers: Students or Teachers?

If you are a parent, you know that the moment you are blessed with kids, the learning process begins. As a dad, my kids have taught me some pretty amazing, funny, and scary things over the years. I can remember when my oldest child was born, my daughter. Yep, talk about a scary experience! When she was a toddler, I quickly realized that my “macho” bravado didn’t mean anything to her. So, I was stuck doing things like having make-believe tea parties, cooking all kinds of plastic food in her toy oven, and yes, doing her doll baby’s hair. The funny thing is, I started to look forward to those things. By the time my second daughter was born, I could change a Barbie outfit in less than a minute! Children have a way of making fathers realize that the attitudes, and beliefs normally associated with being a man mean nothing to those who love you for you. As a dad, the ability to step outside of the “man-box” is a wonderful experience that allows you to feel comfortable with things like being vulnerable and showing your feelings without the fear of being ridiculed or judged.

This Father’s Day, we decided to see what some of the dads we work with had to say about what their kids have taught them. We also asked them to pass on some of that fatherly wisdom and tell us what they want their kids to know. Here’s what they had to say:

Things I learned as a father,

· To have patience with others. I learned that sometimes we just need to give people time and space to ponder and learn on their own. Even the most common flower blooms at its own pace. (Aldriene Parker – Violence Prevention Specialist)

· To listen, love, and appreciate the time I have with them. Also, that life is a journey and I need to take the “long view “and believe that they will find their way and fulfill expectations. What’s been planted in them will grow and bloom, just maybe not on my time schedule. (Andre Nougaret – Board Member)

· Over the years, I have watched my daughter aspire to be a microbiologist, an animator, and a doctor. Although she changed her mind drastically on several occasions she never gave up on her yearning to help others. My daughter has taught me that we should never set limits on our goals and ambitions. Anything is possible in this life. (Aldriene Parker – Violence Prevention Specialist)

Things I want my kids to know,

· My love is unconditional. Make sure you do what you say you will do and do it to the best of your ability. Also, be kind, humble & always do the next right thing. (Andre Nougaret – Board Member)

· To treat EVERY person with respect and remember, success isn’t measured by the amount of wealth you have, but by the respect you earn from others for your generosity and caring about people. (Mark Solow – Board Member)

· Work smart and work hard because anything worth receiving, is worth your sweat and study. Also, to take more time to learn than to act. (Aldriene Parker – Violence Prevention Specialist)

So, to all the dads out there, whether new or experienced, happy Father’s Day and good luck on this wonderful journey called fatherhood.

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