Fatherhood Reflections

Fatherhood Reflections

What does fatherhood mean to you?

Dad 1: Responsibility, great responsibility. I am responsible for the welfare and well-being of a child. Another human being, who is my blood, depends on me (and mum) for everything as a child. It’s my reason to live. To persevere. To work hard. To not give up. My daughter is the reason I do everything that I do – my work and spiritual energy are all dedicated to her.

Dad 2: Providing a better quality of life to my child than was given to me. Enjoying the sacrifices that I have to give just to ensure that my child is has access to the opportunities that were not available to me.

Dad 3: It means being able to enjoy being called a dad, sharing in the trials and tribulations of my children and knowing that these beautiful flowers (children) are a Godsend.

Dad 4: Being a father is huge honour for me, very difficult to explain in words as its all experience based.  According to our destiny I have been placed in this position with the responsibility to raise my children within the Sikh lifestyle.  Applying the universal principles of the Guru’s word we attempt to navigate through our parenting journey. For me it means being motivated every time I look at my children knowing that I been given the divine power to father them.

What is one main challenge you’ve experienced during fatherhood?

Dad 1: Having to try and be the best father I can be from a distance. Mum and I split before she was aged 1. I remember the day (9 years ago now) like it was yesterday. My daughter knew something was up, and I will never forget the look she gave me. The next few months were excruciating. My view was, at that age, she was best living with mum. But things weren’t amicable, I made some choices that I regret, and I ended up going long periods without any contact with my daughter. Fast forward 9 years and things are much more settled now – I have a regular pattern of contact. But the time that we spend apart is still painful. I miss her. I don’t know how she is, how her day has been, I’m only able to catch up with her when I see her (once a week). I cope only because I have faith in the Almighty, that they will look over her and protect her. I feel like I’ve let her down by not being able to be there for her 24/7.

Dad 2: Balancing discipline and boundaries with love and therefore enabling the ability for her to grow and explore without me trying to control everything!

Dad 3: Providing my children an environment in which they could express their highest joys and fulfilment - until I realised that wasn’t on me but on Akal Purakh. After that point every challenge became an adventure.

Dad 4: Behavioural issues and tantrums, only seeing things from the adult perspective based on my own upbringing/experiences, thus disregarding the needs of my child.

What has one thing that has been amazing for you as a father?

Dad 1: Being a father is amazing in itself! That phrase ‘Daddy’s Girl’ really means something now! The ability to love, and to receive it from a child, there is nothing like it. It is pure. It is divine.

Dad 2: Watching her grow and how she has turned into a mini version of her mother. Where does she learn to speak like that? 😂

Dad 3: As a father of three it’s seeing them grow into unique individual personalities, each offering themselves to the universe to utilise and each reminding me of a glimpse in my past.

Dad 4: Learning from my children, they are exposed to so many things that they always love to share what they know.  The things we talk about and discuss together always bring a smile to my face, there is never a dull moment!

If you could engage with your younger self what would you tell them about fatherhood?

Dad 1: Being a father is amazing in itself! That phrase ‘Daddy’s Girl’ really means something now! The ability to love, and to receive it from a child, there is nothing like it. It is pure. It is divine.

Dad 2: Get into a career/occupation that would allow me to spend more time with my child.

Dad 3: The joy of being responsible in the creation of another human being is only but a fraction of the joy knowing Waheguru is constantly creating. It’s an honour and a privilege to be a father and go love my children just as Waheguru loves us all as Her children. Yes I said Her. Him, Her doesn’t matter. It’s the relationship that’s poignant.

Dad 4: That is not about the superficial things such as you think right now, what they will wear, what they will look like, what job they will have. There is a much deeper and conscious meaning to being a father, you will have to work on yourself and be on a road of personal development, it’s more about you than your children, that’s why its called parenting and not ‘childrening’.  However when that time comes you will be ready, you will never be perfect, we all have to begin somewhere, you too will find your way, it’s a unique experience, nothing quite like it!

How do you look after your well-being as a father?

Dad 1: My faith is what keeps me grounded and sane. When those tough times come, being a father, the responsibility that comes with it, is actually a motivator. When my daughter is with me, those times are intense – but I look forward to them and do my best to make the most of them. Gurbani, Kirtan, exercise, watching sport, TV shows – these are my go-to things to relax and unwind, from all the stressors in life, including work and fatherhood. Interestingly, writing these reflections has been somewhat cathartic too!

Dad 2: To be honest I feel like I am only here to ensure the well being of my child. I have learnt to sacrifice and put my dreams on the back burner. This is all in an effort to give my child the room to be who she wants to be without having to worry about those things that I had to as a child i.e. financial, toxic household.  I am in the same position as what my parents were when they came from India. I am not fortunate enough to have financial support from them. So I have had to graft hard for where I am. Also another must to ensure my well being:- do not look at what anyone else is doing. Just do what you have to do. If someone wants to talk to you, they will. Don't chase anyone.

Dad 3: Physically I endeavour to exercise as much as I can, although that’s declining as the years go by. Mentally or spiritually I engage in meditation which refocuses and feeds my inner being. Spiritual ‘food’ appears to digest better with age as most other things lessen in importance.

Dad 4: Personal development, keeping good habits, practicing my faith, Sikhi, meditation, going for walks, journaling, affirmations, reflection time. It’s important for your own well-being that you have a routine separate from your kids, they will pick up on it and they will be inspired by it, children see children do.

As we can see, fatherhood is a complex topic but it’s important that we know there are challenges as well as amazing moments. It’s integral that fathers can be open and honest about what they’re experiencing, both the ups and the downs, in sustaining themselves and those around them!

Thank you so much to all of the dads who contributed their thoughts and reflections!

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