Fathers should allow their children to try, give freedom and show love. To be a cover, but also to grow. So that even in adulthood they feel that they have a place and to whom they can return – says Family News Service Mikołaj Foks, known for the blog “Professional father” and numerous radio broadcasts.
Is fatherhood a profession, a hobby or a calling?
Mikołaj Foks *: Fatherhood encompasses a man’s whole life. Therefore, each of these statements is correct depending on specific moments. Fatherhood is a profession because you can approach and learn it professionally. A calling – it’s hard to be a father if you don’t see a deeper meaning in it, and it can finally be a hobby – because it is something pleasant, passionate, that brings joy and fulfillment. However, not everyone sees in fatherhood the positive side of this profession and the deep meaning that lies in this vocation.
Are there proven ways to be a good father?
It depends on what we want to work on. Building a relationship with your child is one of the tools. Supporting his passion and talents is completely different. However, if I were to list the most important things you need to do to be a good father, I can come up with four basic solutions that affect different atmospheres and spaces.
The first concerns the attitudes of other fathers who can inspire us. It is enough for us to spend time in the company of men who are involved in the life of their family. You don’t just get inspiration from meeting them in father’s workshops. Great support can also be provided by sharing experiences on the playground or on our children’s birthdays. Such interactions do not immediately require changes that we must plan and then implement. However, it is not about creating ideals, because they do not exist. The point is, we need to be in the company of men whose attitudes inspire better fatherhood. The second is building individual relationships with the child. It is about creating such situations that our time together with the child is central. When we go for a walk, perhaps to the forest or to places where we can rest, let’s find time for a dialogue. Then it is worth talking about nothing, because in such an ordinary conversation there is time for the most important topics – real and deep. A third way to make your children stronger is to build a good relationship with their mother.
When they are in balance, based on love and respect, they create a safe, warm home. By observing their parents’ relationships, children learn that they can be with someone despite hardship. You can argue with someone, make peace with someone who loves you.
The most difficult and important, however, is the ability to understand yourself.
Embracing yourself is mainly self-reflection about yourself and seeing how we function in everyday affairs. An important element is understanding what is happening inside me. Where does my fatigue or irritation come from? Perhaps my well-being is due to unmet needs. Another element of grasping myself is knowing what helps me regenerate and gain strength. I don’t mean many hours in front of the screen with a beer in hand. We have many substitutes in life that give a quick effect, but do not allow real regeneration. Recently, during a webinar, I asked the fathers who attended this meeting whether they are aware of what allows them to rest.
And what answers did you get?
One of the participants said that cycling helps him to relax. But it took him several years to discover the link between physical activity and relaxation. For someone else, working in the garden, playing guitar or doing puzzles is a pleasure and satisfaction. It often takes a lifetime to discover myself, build my character and learn to choose what suits me.
The process of getting to know yourself will stay with us forever.
Our commitment depends on how we, as men – husbands and fathers, will build relationships with our relatives. A healthy tree growing in the forest gives shade to other trees, contributes to their growth. It’s a cover, but you can also grow through it.
Being a fulfilled father without a happy childhood
Can you be a fulfilled father without a happy childhood?
If you didn’t have something, it’s harder to build a solid foundation, which doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Men who want to do something with their fatherhood have two choices.
There are people who have had a good fatherhood experience from their parental home and now want to pass it on to their children. There are also people who have been bad and they know that they cannot go the same way. They want to change something. Human nature is extremely flexible and we can deal with negative experiences. Love for children can often motivate men to act. Sometimes it pays to call in professional help and therapeutic support. You don’t have to be ashamed of that.
Are father to daughter and father to son the same relationship?
The relationship with every child is different. Yes, there are striking differences between boys and girls. However, I believe that the fundamental differences lie in personality. There are girls who like to go to balls, dress in pink, but also girls who prefer to play football and wear pants.
Combining family life with work is not easy. How do you ensure a work-life balance?
Yes, it’s not easy. However, the problem is usually not our bosses, but individual beliefs about how much we should dedicate ourselves to our work. If we work well remotely, we should be able to control what hours we are at work and when we go about our family life – even if we spend all the time at home. Entrepreneurs are beginning to notice that without rest, the employee will not be effective at work. They find that they need an employee who will be a good, contented parent. When his family life has stabilized, he will perform daily tasks with more energy. It is very important to communicate your own limits to others. Of course, each case needs to be considered individually and where this constant sitting at work comes from. It can be the fear of losing a job, perfectionism, sense of responsibility for the tasks entrusted, but also a problem with maintaining the balance between family life and work.
Balance between family life and work
More and more we see fathers with prams playing with their children in the playground. Is fatherhood becoming fashionable?
Fatherhood is alive … birth. Today, nothing traditional defines masculinity anymore. There are no longer typically male activities and professions. Women are bus drivers, soldiers, firefighters, forest rangers. Masculinity is also not determined by the wealth of the wallet – women often earn more than men. Men are still distinguished by the greater build-up of muscle tissue, but today social position is not built through the prism of muscle strength. So one thing remains: only men can be a father and find themselves in this wonderful role.
They should allow children to try, give freedom and show love. So that they also have the feeling that they can return somewhere in their adult life.
It is said that the crisis of masculinity brings with it a crisis of fatherhood.
In addition to flourishing, fatherhood also experiences difficult times. But such crises have always existed. The father has the power to build a beautiful family or to destroy it. The question is how he will use this power.
Dad’s mission, which is to be a creative dad
To be a creative dad, you have to be a creative person first.
Do what you like. You don’t have to come up with much here. If someone likes to do odd jobs, let them do it and invite children to daily activities. Of course with sensitivity. In a healthy balance.
“Mission dad” is a strategy workshop for fathers. Can a father’s mission be planned?
Workshops give you more insight into your fatherhood. In the long run, they make you think about what I want to be a father to my kids. Not under the dictates of his wife, mother-in-law and pressure from society.
I invite all men to the workshops. One of the participants was even a man who was just planning to get married and start a family. He wanted to prepare well for what would be his daily life in the future. By participating in the meetings, he could see more broadly what he would like to do in his life.
* Mikołaj Foks – husband and father of four daughters. He runs a blog Zawodojięć.pl, parental programs, workshops and individual consultations for men who want to achieve synergy between family life and professional development.