I must admit to having a fear that I believe I share with many fathers. I fear that I will…
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Most of us have no chance to change the world. But any of us can have an impact on our own little corner of the world.
Don Shulz is a 64-year-old retired gentleman who suffered a stroke over four years ago. Now, he's restricted to a three-wheeled motorized wheelchair. I'm sure some men in that condition would give up on life, thinking they had nothing more to contribute.
In August of 1985, my father passed away. Fortunately, I talked with him just the Sunday before. He shared that he felt 22 years old inside but that when he looked in the mirror he saw an old man. Dad added that he couldn’t carry two bags of groceries up a flight of steps without getting exhausted. On Tuesday the 6th he passed away.
My dad’s death slammed home the fact that, in my nuclear family, I was now the patriarch, the oldest male of my family. Our sons had just moved up a notch to being the second-generation males.
I returned home after another long day anticipating a good meal and then a few hours of R & R in front of the TV. But when I opened the door, evidence to the contrary was obvious: a pink coat, a small, glittery shoe, and then a shriek of delight as my granddaughter sped to greet me. Suddenly I was rejuvenated.
I hope you enjoy a special kinship with your grandchildren. It’s one of life’s most precious opportunities. In my work among grandfathers, I have noticed that some granddads aren’t fully engaged with their grandkids because they’re held back by two life-stage barriers. I want to make you aware of those barriers, so you can hurdle them and move forward with your grandkids.
The Fathering Life Course starts with the birth of your child. The last stage starts with another birth and a new, well-deserved title: grandpa. We call this stage Generativity. The rest of the world may try to retire you; but your grandchildren are ready to hire you on for one more stint in that rewarding career known as fatherhood.
What do you value in life? What shining virtues stand above time and progress? What personal qualities do you want your children and grandchildren to carry into future generations?
Researcher Arthur Kornhaber says that there are three times when our lives are totally transformed by natural events that are pretty much out of our hands: when we’re born, when we die … and when we become grandparents.
Every child needs a dad. And children also benefit from the wisdom and influence of other men, over and above what their father can supply. So, your grandkids will profit from the distinct advantages that you bring to their lives, which complement what your son or son-in-law can give them. Your work isn’t done, granddad. It’s just become more enjoyable.