Balanced Fathering: Awareness

Today, I want to explore how dads need to have balanced Awareness. Awareness has to do with a dad’s knowledge of his children and their world. It’s essential to being an informed dad.

Without awareness, a dad drifts in and out of his children’s lives, with little knowledge about their school work, activities, and friends. He has no idea what makes his kids unique, or what sets them apart from other children in their age group.

On the other side of the hill is the danger of being intrusive. The intrusive dad doesn’t allow his kids to live a life of their own. For him, knowledge is power, and his motivation for learning about his children is to find out what they’re up to, so he can reel them back in with his strong hand of authority. He thinks he can keep his kids out of trouble by controlling them and making choices for them.

An intrusive dad would read his teenage daughter’s diary, or listen in on phone conversations. To the child, it’s obvious that he doesn’t care about her thoughts and feelings; he’s only keeping tabs on her, trying to squash her individualism. Since he keeps pushing her, she keeps pulling back and rebelling against his authority.

Healthy awareness is characterized by what I call discernment. Instead of using his awareness to control his kids, the discerning father gains knowledge to act on his children’s behalf. He’s not intrusive, but concerned. He’s ready to take action when he senses danger to his child, but he isn’t hovering there, waiting for something to go wrong. This father can be more of a friend or counselor to his kids.

Awareness is vital to fathering, but there’s a delicate balance, a middle ground. Restated one more way: It’s a treacherous world and we need to be awake to what’s going on with our kids, but not in their faces. Let’s be discerning dads.