In what ways do you need to grow as a person?
Maybe that’s a question you don’t think about very often, but according to former Kansas University and NBA basketball player Wayne Simien, one characteristic of being a great dad is being teachable—learning and growing from the daily joys and challenges of interacting with your children.
I featured a video clip from Wayne last month, where he talked about the joy of fatherhood. I was inspired and challenged by a lot I heard from Wayne, and I think you will be, too—especially his additional comments about fatherhood bringing out things in a man like nothing else in life. As Wayne said:
There are things that need to be developed in me that wouldn’t take place without being a father—in terms of growth and maturity, leadership, learning how to love, learning how to serve. I wouldn’t be able to experience or grow or develop in those things apart from being a dad….
See for yourself in the clip:
It gives me great hope when I hear words like this from young dads like Wayne, or when I watch my own son being sensitive to his young kids.
I believe being teachable is key for any of us who want to grow as fathers or in any other area of life. We can learn a lot from our children if we approach them with the right attitude.
We have to be willing to learn from others. It all starts with a healthy humility, where we realize very clearly that we haven’t arrived as fathers. We all have room to grow in our relationships with our wives and children.
The great thing is that, these days, there are tons of tremendously valuable resources to help you be a great dad—but they’ll be useful to you only if you commit to being teachable.
When I joined the staff at the Center over six years ago, I knew I was a pretty good dad. But the more I learn about fatherhood, the more I see that I still have many ways I need to grow. And I was amazed to discover all the different resources and support that’s available to dads today. (Of course, I’m partial to what we have at fathers.com.) Being part of a men’s small group is also a vital part of helping you be the best dad you can be.
So, you really don’t have an excuse if you aren’t growing as a father. All the supports are in place. The question is, Are you teachable? Are you humble enough and wise enough to take advantage of what’s out there?
To be the father your children need, you need to always be learning and growing and hungering for more, like Wayne talks about. Consider it an adventure every day to search out the new things you can learn about your kids and about being a better dad.
Action Points to help you grow as a dad:
- Post those two questions from Wayne in a place where you’ll see them every morning: “What joy am I going to experience from my children today?” “What wisdom am I going to gain from my children today?”
- Look for ways to help your child learn to be teachable, which starts with humility and respect for authority. Challenge him to show proper respect to teachers, coaches, bosses … and really everyone he interacts with.
- Through the wins and losses of your child’s year, be there to give her a proper perspective on what happens. When she succeeds, help her stay humble and share the credit. When she struggles, provide comfort and support—then help her work to improve for next time.
- Keep a long-range perspective in your fathering. Realize that many of the daily battles won’t really matter in five or ten years, so you can invest in your children with extra measures of patience, calmness and acceptance.
- In what areas of fatherhood do you need to grow? Our online profile will help you identify strengths and areas for improvement. Take the profile here.
What have you learned from your children? How has being a father helped you to grow as a person? Please share your insights below or at our Facebook page.
Carey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers who to make the Championship Fathering Commitment. NCF believes that every child needs a dad they can count on, and uses its resources to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need. Subscribe to his weekly email tip by clicking here: “Yes! I want tips on how to be a great dad who loves, coaches, mentors, and inspires my children.