Devin Coleman is an author, poet and speaker, and currently serves as the Vice Chair of the NEFL Fatherhood Task Force. In honor of Father’s Day, he shares an important lesson he learned as a dad.
One the most important lessons I’ve learned thus far as a single Father is the importance of spending quality time with my daughter. Often times parents (men in particular) focus on the financial obligations of child rearing such as shelter, electricity, food, and clothing. Provision is a very important aspect of raising a child, especially if we expect them to perform optimal in school as well as the community at large, but it is not the only thing to consider. I have come to realize that we as men have a duty to nurture our children as well.
One afternoon after picking my daughter up from her after school program she asked, “What are we going to do today Daddy?” The innocent and sincere manner in which she proposed the question shifted my entire perspective of Fatherhood. I looked in her eyes and told her, “We are spending quality time together.” Her face lit up with joy and revealed a beautiful smile and almost instantaneously she said, “That means no phone daddy!”
From those two questions I learned that in her mind quality time with me was very important and her definition of quality time meant no outside distractions. At that moment “Daddy Daughter” in our household became a reality. It’s during these times I have an opportunity to impart our family’s moral and value system into her. I tell her about her lineage and the importance of legacy. The conversations that we have during our quality time has brought us closer showing her that I value her and her words. Thereby building the type of trust that will give her the courage to come to her Father and confide in me in the future. My words say I love you and you’re important, but my actions show that I actually mean it.
In conclusion, I would like to think that Fatherhood has caused me to become a better man. As I’ve come to realize the awesome responsibility it carries. As men we are the first interaction that our children will have with a male. It’s vital that we set the stage properly, showing them what a man is and what a man does. This will potentially serve as a measuring stick by which our sons strive to be and the qualities our daughters seek in a potential mate.