Life Notes: On Being a Father
by David Wheeler, Ph.D.

One night I had been in an irritable, grouchy mood. As I rocked my 4-year-old son at bedtime, he reminded me of something silly I had said a day or two before, and he began to laugh. I began to laugh with him, and soon my whole mood changed. I later thought about how many times I have rocked one of my children and quickly felt relaxed and peaceful. There is something very soothing about holding a small child and rocking; it is something I would not trade. Some fathers are hesitant to be affectionate with their children, particularly their sons. They might be afraid of making their sons “soft” or “sissies”. Personally, I would rather my son be “STRONG” than simply “TOUGH.”

The strength that comes from a strong emotional bond between a child and his or her father is irreplaceable. A father’s role in his child’s life is critical. Our prisons are full of men who did not have a loving father. For the fathers reading this article, please don’t let the time pass you by without connecting with your kids. Hold them! Hug them! Tell them you love them! THEY NEED TO HEAR AND FEEL IT. They need to know that you approve of them and value them. It will help them be truly strong in facing this world. And, by the way, YOU will be better for it.

The Life Notes articles are written by staff of Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home and are published in The Ruston Daily Leader.

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