When I was at the New Wine Children’s Leaders conference I picked up Mark Stibbe’s book “I am your Father”, which I have been reading whilst away this week. Although I was reading it to understand some of the issues of the fatherless, I found myself reflecting on how I had done and how I viewed my own father. I know there are areas where I could do better (none of us is perfect!), I was also aware of how my view of my own father has changed over time.
There is one table/chart which Mark calls a Father Wound Inventory where you can scale 12 things, each from Wound to Blessing (you have to buy the book to find out what they all are!). It was good as it made me think not just about one occasion, but lots, we so often only remember the one bad one. I was able to think about it both from my own father, and me being a father. I also realized that had I scored my father when I was younger it may have been different, as it is only more recently I have realized the things he has done for me, both practically, but also in making me the person I am.
It is at times like this I really miss him and I also realise the legacy he has left behind. If I can be half the father he was I know I will have done well.
Mark describes what a good dad does. These are the headings
- A good dad values fatherhood
- A good dad displays affection
- A good dad gets involved
- A good dad provides security
- A good dad sets an example
- A good dad gives affirmation
- A good dad shares wisdom
- A good dad establishes boundaries
- A good dad releases hope
- A good dad leaves a legacy
Looking at how good we are as fathers, is not about beating ourselves up, but it can help us focus on the things that are important, making them a priority and striving to do the right thing.
Although Sarah and Peter are grown up, being a father doesn’t stop. The fact that they are 2 great adults tells me I can’t have got too much wrong so far. I know Karen will try and take the credit, but I’ll just point her to the part in the book which highlights that it takes 2 good parents! I may get them to read Mark’s book and then honestly tell me what I do well and there I could improve.