These days the news is filled with polarizing and emotionally charged stories about crimes against humanity. While exhausted by the unfolding drama perpetuated by Court TV’s polling of whether the prosecution or the defense won, or whether race, gender or class influenced this or that, I continue to tune in. Keeping in mind that many children are also exposed to these same news stories, I am compelled to reflect on a positive solution to the negative bombardment.
However shocking today’s events may be, I am reminded to look for a lesson from the crisis or tragedies of others. Although we cannot escape the feelings and reactions brought on by the attention to “the verdict,” I humbly offer a different lens by which to view the situations that will continue to leave many of us flooded with emotions and without a doubt impact our relationships with one another. The lens that I am sharing is one that might help us focus on the importance of healthy relationships between fathers and their children.
As fathers we can use current events to teach, develop and strengthen our relationships with our children. Every time I read about a situation that threatens a child’s safety, development and well-being, it brings me back to evaluating my relationship with my son. My role as “Dad” is one of the most important things in life that I have complete influence over. The critical and influential role fathers play in their children’s developmental assets is immense. Our presence, absence or even emotional unavailability all impact our children’s overall development.
I hope that you take advantage of the gift of time to reflect and work a little each day to take an active and purposeful approach in strengthening and stewarding your relationship with your children. By no means am I communicating from an elevated sense of paternal expertise. What I am sharing is simply my reaction to current events, how I chose to value other people’s experiences, and how I use them as inspiration to strengthen and contribute to my child’s developmental assets. You can find out more about these assets at www.searchinstitute.org/40 developmental-assets. With so much bad being highlighted in the world, I am choosing to do my part to add to the good pile.
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No matter where your relationship with your child stands, I invite you to make a pledge today and every day to actively focus on strengthening your relationship with your children. Make a commitment to make every moment count with your children., because “For these are all our children. We will all profit by, or pay for, whatever they become” (James Baldwin).