The Power of a Positive Outlook

Bill’s father was a college president. He was also regularly called upon to give guest sermons at his church. One sermon Bill remembers clearly was about the power of light overcoming darkness. In the middle of the sermon was a poem Bill’s dad had written and Bill’s son used to recite when he was little. Part of it went, “No deep darkness in the world
 can overcome the light, a single candle flame will burn
 against the darkest night.”

How often are we impacted by a negative interaction, a critical opinion, or a rude encounter? And how frequently do we let this darkness overcome the light in our lives by carrying home our disappointment, frustration or anger?

Making Impressions

We make impressions wherever we go and whatever we do. They may be unseen by us but the impressions are nonetheless real and important. This is as true at home as it is in the workplace and the community. If it is important for us to make a good impression, operate competently, and perform professionally at work, isn’t it equally important to make a positive impression at home?

The actions we take, words we use, and emotions we express as fathers have a big impact on our children. It is important for us to remember that we are role models for them. And as role models, we should believe that no amount of darkness can overcome the light.

Dealing With Meanness

We often face those dark, negative interactions in our lives with a feeling of resignation. We frequently feel that negative, impolite, and counterproductive behavior is stronger and outweighs all other approaches. We can feel beat down by a dark encounter. And it can seep into our personal lives and impact those around us.

Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval co-authored a business book a few years ago entitled, The Power of Nice. In it they state, “We completely disagree with the conventional wisdom that ‘nice guys finish last’ and ‘no good deed goes unpunished.”

We agree. We think niceness can win and its power can have a transformative effect on you and your family. Understand that individuals who are mean, rude, or insensitive operate our of fear, insecurity, or their own sense of hurt that they’ve been unable to overcome. All of us have been hurt. It’s how we deal with it that makes the difference. Some people never get over it. Some move on.

Bringing The Light Home

When you come home from a tough day or a difficult encounter, remove the darkness and reflect light. Focus on the value of your family. Remember their importance in your life and the gift they are to you. Breathe twice before entering your home after a hard day. Think twice before speaking. Remember the importance of your words and actions and the impact they make. Your children are listening… and watching.

By dads2dads

Searching for Balance

Jamie, 14, was starting to get more text messages and calls from guys. They’d ask her to go to a party or just out for a walk. Mom and Dad worried. They gave their daughter more chores to do around the house. After school, she had to clean her bedroom. On weekends her parents asked her to stay close to home in case either one or both might be called into work. Jamie knew that would never happen. She wondered why her mom and dad were being so restrictive.

Cinderella

Soon Jamie was feeling like Cinderella, trapped in her house, held hostage by over-protective parents. She could only use her cell phone between certain hours. Her time on the computer was restricted. Late phone calls were rare, but when they came, Jamie’s parents treated them with suspicion. Jamie felt more and more isolated. Why were her parents sheltering her so much—no, smothering her.

When her dad refused to let her go to the school dance, Jamie tearfully confronted both her parents.

“Why are you doing this? You don’t let me do anything anymore.”

“Because you’re not old enough to take care of yourself,” they shot back. “There’ll be lots of time for dances and parties and guys later—don’t be in such a hurry!”

“It’s only a dance,” Jamie said. “Everyone’s going.”

“Not everyone,” her dad said sternly. Then his tone softened. “Honey, your mother and I love you. We just don’t want anything to happen to you.”

Letting Go

Over time and after many conversations with other parents and relatives, Jamie’s mom and dad started to realize they had to loosen their grip on their daughter or she would eventually pull completely away. In time, they indeed relaxed their hold on her.

As a result, Jamie opened up and included her parents in her social life. She told them about the parties and the dances and the guys who flirted with her at school. The three of them developed a relationship of mutual trust and respect.

We parents try like crazy to hold on to our children—and for good reason. After all, we’ve spent a lot of years watching them learn and grow, stumble and fall, get up, wipe away the tears and keep going. They’re part of us. It’s hard to give up part of ourselves. But let them go we must. Otherwise, our kids will never get a chance to shape their own identities.

“Letting go” isn’t the same as “kicking out.” Letting go involves holding on out of love and concern while also releasing our grip out of love and concern.

Every parent can remember painful experiences. It’s only natural to want to keep those same things from happening to our teenagers. However, when we try to keep them in a cocoon, we enclose ourselves in a cocoon as well. And that’s a very small world inside.

 

By dads2dads