Awesome Dad's Top Ten Communication Intentions

An Awesome Dad is by no means perfect. But that itself is perfect, because imperfection allows us to really understand the personal evolution our children are going through with us. The definition of an Awesome Dad, then, is the father who stays in the game, shows up fully and sets powerful intentions to grow into. Here are some:

I listen with my entire being - and without judgment. I seek first to understand and appreciate what my children say. From that vantage point, I will build their trust in me and be most supportive.

I see others as equals, neither superior nor inferior to me. Every person is a unique individual, just like everyone else on the planet. (hee hee)! We each have our own journey and everyone we encounter is integral to our life's objectives. Children are no less important and should be treated with equal respect.

I engage my curiosity completely. I truly want to understand and try to grasp all that is going on for my children. I want to see the world afresh from their perspectives and glean new insights through them. I ask questions without an agenda.

I consider all perspectives and choose consciously. In this world of infinite possibilities, I seek to understand where everyone is coming from and only then choose what resonates most. I share this process with those I love.

First, do no harm! I communicate to foster understanding and growth but never to hurt. "Sticks and stones..." I know my words can cut deeper, and the resulting wounds take longer to heal.

I tell stories that speak to the heart. When I speak from the heart, my words penetrate other's hearts. Parables and personal stories are easy to accept and are rarely accusatory, though often funny and informative.

I articulate the nuances. I use a rich vocabulary to communicate distinctions that will help to raise awareness and expand my family's appreciation of life.

I understand the power of my touch. From a gentle touch on the cheek, to a vigorous backrub, to wrestling on the floor, I communicate my love through the powerful medium of touch. And I know when to refrain as well.

I share what's there. I discuss difficult issues that warrant open communication without fear. I believe open communication will lead to the greatest family unity, even though the journey may be difficult.

My actions are congruent with my values. I am keenly aware that my actions speak louder than my words. The best communication is when words and actions match perfectly. Values in action...

Copyright 2004 by CoachVille, Dovid Grossman and Ken Mossman
Duplication, with attribution, permitted and encouraged.
From CoachVille's 'Awesome Dads: dare to be a hero!' community.

My father was a very successful engineer. But he and I never got along, and we fought all the time. One day, when I was 17, I told him, "I always wanted a close relationship with you, but we don't have it." I watched as three tears squeezed out of his pained eyes. And he said, "I've always wanted that, too, but I just don't know how to do it." Since that day, we haven't argued. I got it. I understood his love for me was really deep. A lot of fathers are in the same boat. They love their kids dearly. But they don't know how to express this in a way that their kids understand it. Which means there's great pain in one of the most important relationships in their lives. I offer adventure, mentoring and coaching programs for fathers to become Awesome Dads. The benefits are a lifetime of pleasure and pride with the most important people in their lives. Dovid Grossman



Dad's Salmon Grill Recipe

Salmon recipe
Use either cedar or alder plank/chips (soak it in water for a minute or two, first). Use WILD ALASKAN Salmon if possible. (Try not to use farm raised salmon (mercury content is high). Place skin side down on grill (brush fish and grill lightly with olive oil first). On the flesh side, coat lightly with mayonnaise (for healthier version, skip this step). Then, add FRESHLY chopped rosemary and lemon juice, add once again while cooking along with Morton's Nature's Season's on top of the rosemary. A thin salmon fillet will only take 6-8 minutes on a grill at 300-400 degrees on top of the wet plank. This recipe has been in the family for ages and served us well in Oregon and now in Arizona.

John Braun Marana, AZ



Building A New Relationship With Dad

For the record: You don’t have to plow up your corn and build a baseball field to reconcile with your father.

The climactic scene of the movie Field of Dreams offers a powerful portrayal of reconciliation between father and son. With each toss of the baseball and dusty pop into the leather glove, we know that Ray Kinsella and his father are healing past hurts and building a new relationship.

Though the movie relied heavily on fantasy, we still appreciate the emotions of that final scene. And I believe much of the movie’s success can be attributed to the hunger so many people feel for that kind of reconciliation.

Is this just a Hollywood fantasy? I don’t think so. There are real-life stories that are every bit as moving. Listen to this testimony from John:

My father came back in my life after about a fifteen-year estrangement. Six years ago he became ill, and my wife and I took him in and took care of him. Then he went home to be with the Lord earlier this year.

My children had never met this man, and if this had not happened, I would not have known who my father was. It wasn’t always easy, and I thank God for the angel he sent for me to marry. But I’m thankful that my children now know who their grandpa was and miss him very much.

But I want to say that I almost missed it. If anyone has the opportunity to get to know their father, do it. I got a second chance, and that doesn’t happen very often.

In building a new relationship with your father, you are trying to recapture the original design for fathers and sons, but not as a child. You’re a man now, a competent adult, acting on what is true now, not what should have been true when you were six or sixteen.

Just relax and let the relationship re-define itself. Persevere through difficulties; share new experiences; learn to express love to your dad.

But at the very least, I urge you to take John’s advice. Build that connection while you have the chance. Finish that unfinished business.


You and Your Children's Mother: Overcoming Anger for Your Kids' Sake

Getting tired of hearing about how all single dads are angry? If you're like me, you don't even read the "deadbeat dad" articles anymore—it's enough to make you mad!

The real danger of that kind of anger is that it can very easily cloud your thinking and make you temporarily forget one of your most valued priorities in life, your kids. What's really best for you and them? Do you really get that much satisfaction out of hating your former wife? Who's really being hurt here? If there's a constant pain in your stomach, it isn't her that's bleeding; it's you—and the kids.

Like many things in life, hate is a choice. It may seem like an uncontrollable reaction, but in not learning to control your anger, you have chosen to hate. I'm not asking you to love the kids' mom again; that's a choice too. There's a middle ground you have to reach—the lack of anger and hate. It's a very necessary first step in bringing healing to your family.

I'll be borrowing from Ken Canfield's book, The 7 Secrets of Effective Fathers—specifically, secret five: Loving Their Mother. I know it may be hard to even think about right now, but force yourself-for you and your children's sake.

Distrust Your Former Wife? Your Kids Will, Too

No one's perfect-including you. Sometimes we're late; we all do things that hurt others, too. With that in mind, let go of all the distrust you can, especially if it's based on old memories. If you choose to re-live that distrust over and over in your mind, it will give you an ulcer.

But, even worse, your children will pick up on the distrust like the smell of hamburgers on the grill. Your attitude won't come back to haunt her, only you and your kids. If you reinforce that she can't be trusted or doesn't keep promises, you'll only create a basic anxiety and fear in your kids' lives. They may not trust any women. Your son could grow up to have a string of failed relationships with women; your daughter may develop negative views of womanhood or motherhood. They'll learn to distrust you for it too, and that could undermine many of the other things you're trying to do as a dad.

No matter how much satisfaction you may get out of spite, don't do that to your kids. Now that the marriage is over, why not be a little forgiving?

Can't Bring Yourself to Talk to Their Mom?

I remember a grade school program where my son was up on the bleachers, singing his heart out about Frosty the Snowman. His mom and I were sitting on the front row, talking. What did we talk about? My son John, of course. No need to be angry about the past or present. No need to hate anyone. Only a great reason to communicate our mutual love and hopes for the life of this great little guy.

Afterwards, when we were standing around with all the other proud parents, a woman approached me and said, "I was talking to your wife, and she said ...." Oh boy. My wife! Then I stopped and thought, Of course. It was an easy mistake, but I also took it as a compliment, because it reflected that we were taking a tense situation and choosing to make the best of it. We both hugged John and then went our separate ways. No ulcers, no atmosphere of distrust, no lack of communication, no anger. Who benefited? My son John, myself, and maybe their mom. We all won and it felt great. You can win and bring your kids into the equation too.

Think about the future now. Imagine no hate, anger or distrust aimed at your children's mother. You're there, and there is laughter, affirmation, even love. Your kids see their potential, love their mom for who she is, and give you credit for being the dad all their friends would like to have.

What more can life give in your role as a dad? Not much. Try it!
Patrick Batchelder is a writer and single-father advocate. He lives in Colorado with his son and daughter.



When Dad's Not Involved

As a psychologist, Dr. Flanery has seen the painful ravages of what can happen when Dad is absent from his children's lives.

"There are some horrifying statistics about what happens to children whose fathers are absent from their lives.

"It's heart-rending," he says. "For boys, the chances of delinquency, alcohol abuse and not graduating from high school increase dramatically. Girls are more likely to be abused sexually and have children out of wedlock. Men need to be involved in the lives of their children."

Have Faith that They'll Survive

And while Dr. Flanery stays connected with his children, he cherishes the few minutes he'll have to himself to browse a bookstore alone as a Father's Day treat. Life with 10 children is a hand-full. Two hands full.

"You've got to have faith in yourself and your wife that the children will turn out fine. The definition of faith is belief in things not seen, and you've got to have faith that it's all worthwhile because many times it doesn't look like it."


Father's Day eCards on Smilebox