Change and Fatherhood
Our children come from us but they are not ours to
control, they have their own lives to lead, their
own mistakes to learn from and their own challenges
to overcome. We can guide them but we cannot change
them and the examples we set are one of the most
powerful ways of guiding them.
Childhood is a time when children are learning
and acquiring the tools that will shape their adult
lives. If we are really concerned as to how good a
job we are doing with our children then I
believe we should ask ourselves how good is the
example we are setting? Are they thinking wow! I
cannot wait to be grown-up, grown ups have a great
For instance how many of us are demonstrating to
our children that time is something over which
adults have no control? That when you grow up you
always have to be rushing everywhere, grabbing five
minutes with your children in between everything
else? Each time a child witnesses this it
reinforces in them the belief that they too will
struggle for time when they grow up. More
importantly, perhaps, they measure their own sense
of self-worth against our attitudes to them. If we
have so little time available for them, what
conclusions will they reach about their own value
in the world?
And what about love? If you are in a
relationship, are you able to demonstrate to your
children that you respect your partner, that you
share openly and listen attentively? What messages
are you giving the children in your life about the
nature of adult relationships? That they are
valuable and joyful parts of life that have to be
worked at - or that they are problematical things
which warrant little time or discussion, and which
certainly feature lower down the list of priorities
than work and money?
Fun is another commodity in childrens
lives that adults all too often forget about. Do
the children around you see you as someone who
takes their fun seriously and creates regular
spaces for it in life? What effect will it have on
them if they start to believe that being a grownup
seems to imply having little or no fun?
Our children are also learning about the power
of money from us. What do they observe in you?
Someone who is comfortable with and open about the
subject of money - however much or little you may
And what of work? Do your children see a father
going off to work who loves what he does (without
being addicted to it) and who is able to return in
the evening being not only able to share what has
happened to him but also being able to listen to
what his children and partner have done?
If I could get just one point across to men
about fathering/mentoring children it would be
this. It is who you are, your daily example, that
affects children more than anything else you can
ever teach them. It is not who you are for the two
weeks holiday once every fifty two weeks that makes
If you want to help raise happy, balanced
children, seek to become a happier, more balanced
person. All the books, all the theories - and even
all your material success - they mean nothing to
children. What means everything to them is who you
are, how you are and what you can do with
Try the Following:-
1) Try to see the world through a childs
eyes. Children arent always after results,
they are often just hungry for time and attention.
Drop your personal needs to meet goals and value
the time you have to give as much as the
success of any activity you may be
involved in with a child.
2) Check what you may be projecting onto the
children in your life. Are you doing things with
them that meet their needs or yours?
3) Children have their own lives to lead. Let
them live them dont be tempted into
trying to make everything alright for them.
©2008, Barry Durdant-Hollamby
Durdant-Hollamby is the founder of The
a UK based organisation specialising in helping
individuals and corporations to effect sustainable,
holistic, positive change. He works intuitively on
a 1-1 or group basis and also conducts many talks
and seminars - all without notes or preparation!
Barry is also the author of three books the latest
of which is The
Male Agenda - a book
which seeks to inspire men to create greater life
balance and happiness. He is the father of two
daughters and lives in the South East of England.
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