Young dads are not so young anymore. According to an article on statnews.com in 2017, First-time fathers these days is over the age of 30. Family dynamics have definitely changed. People are getting married later and starting families at older ages. There are several reasons for this. In my opinion, many parents and the educational system do not prepare young people for life. There is a huge trend for college students graduating and moving back home with mom and dad. As a former educator, I hear of people that have a degree and can’t find a job.
We could get into a discussion of blame. However, that usually doesn’t fix anything. I am solution driven. I want to be a part of the answers that can help. I hate being around those that just want to complain. Complaining doesn’t fix anything. Getting off our butts and doing something can.
I understand that young men and women are facing many of the same struggles that affect their current or future family life. However, since this blog has to do with dads, I will be focussing on the men for suggestions on how to deal with these issues.
First of all, things that are strong are either forged or reinforced. This means that we must go through the fire or become bound to deal with the pressures that we face. A trend began many years ago that made things easier for kids. We began to do too much for kids, let them give excuses, blame others, and not take responsibility for their decisions. We stepped away from discipline and began to diagnose, which in many situations was the excuse.
Here is the disclaimer, I know that there are medical conditions and special needs. Relax your raised eyebrow. I also know that kids in the United States are some of the most highly medicated youth in the world. Again, some have real medical issues that warrant the pills. However, many parents just don’t want to deal with their children’s behavior. No parent wants to embrace the idea of lacking parental skills to handle their child’s problem.
Diagnosis has become a crutch which has been embraced. If your kid has ADD or ADHD then there is a victim mentality that allows individuals to sidestep responsibility. As the child grows, more excuses, justifications, and acceptance of failure becomes the norm. Then they go to college. After graduating from college, if they do finish the individual has become comfortable playing the blame and/or the excuse game.
Future dads and young dads must break a very destructive cycle that has been embraced by many in society. We must learn to appreciate discipline, listen, and stop making excuses. Like any truly successful athlete, we must embrace the idea that what is easy is not the best route to get to our goals. Greatness comes through learning, pain, and being responsible. I don’t recall ever hearing a professional athlete go on television and whine about the demanding tasks and schedule it takes to keep them on top of their game.
Society will give you an excuse or justification for your failures. Champions own their failures as a drive to improve. If you are a basketball fan, you have probably heard or read about Michael Jordan talk about his failures and how they have forced him to keep going. If you haven’t, let me encourage you to check out the story at this link. https://csq.com/2017/08/michael-jordan-profile-failure/#.XRI8uJNKjLY
As a dad, you will screw up. What is that going to do to you or for you? Will you give excuses? We hate it when we mess up. We especially hate it when others call attention to it. However, if you don’t embrace the discipline to learn, get up, and keep going. You will not only fail yourself but also your children. Being a great dad does not mean that you are the best, strongest, or smartest. It means that you won’t quit. It means that you own your mistakes, listen, learn, and keep going.
There is a question that is deadly for the success of men/dads. “What would be easier”? It is easier to quit. It is easier to embrace excuses. It is easier to blame someone or something for things going poorly. It is easier to justify our mistakes. All of these will fail you and your kids. You must be willing to go through the fire for what you want. You must allow yourself to be forged into what your kids need you to be. You must seek ways to reinforce healthy and loving ways to grow.
As a Christian, I believe that the bible has the best lessons for dads. However, I’d like to recommend 2 books that I have read recently that I believe that will also serve you well. The Vanishing American Adult, by Ben Sasse and Raising Men, by Eric Davis. Links to these books can be found below.
One thing that I did not do until much later in life was to be a big reader. As a matter of fact. This is one of my biggest “I would go back and change if I could” things in my life. Most of us form our ideas from those people or sources that we trust the most. Let me encourage you to broaden your learning platform. Remember that we are not doing this for ourselves alone, but for those that we treasure the most. Be the best dad possible.