Fatherhood and Personal Growth

In order to achieve all that is demanded of us, we must regard ourselves as greater than we are. – Johann von Goethe

Becoming a father can bring up a lot of issues for us. It can make us take a look at who we are and where we’re going. It can make us question our ideas of work, money, happiness, and romance. How am I going to pay for it all, being the sole supporter? Does what I do for a living mesh with my family’s needs? What do I do if my child or wife gets sick?

After my first child was born, I remember thinking that it was pretty amazing that we could have a baby and that we were solely responsible. We weren’t just babysitting, and wouldn’t be giving the baby back to someone later. I mean, where’s the owner’s manual? What if we forget to do something? Who’s responsible here?

As with most things in life, most of it is just suiting up and showing up, doing your best. Once we listen to our intuition and connect with our child and partner, we will be able to act in full confidence, no matter what the situation is. And the acting part is an important piece of regarding ourselves as greater than we are.

We act. Then we become.

When our oldest daughter was an infant, I used to joke that I wished that we had twins, so that I could hold one. I envied the closeness of mother and child, and was impatient for papa-time. When she got older, we had more one on one time, but when she was an infant, I was just the designated burper. Now we have papa-time, and she’s so curious about me and what I do, and how things work, and what project can we work on together?

Sometimes I wonder if I can possibly be the father that my children need. I’ve got my flaws and weaknesses, so how can I teach them something that I don’t know for myself?

Within each of us is a natural pattern and a natural connection to the source of all wisdom. Tapping into that is how we become a natural father. A father that listens for the teaching in everything, and a father that learns from his child.

You’ve probably heard the terms natural parenting and natural mothering, but natural parenting probably has a very specific definition to some people, so I’ve been using the term natural fathering. Natural fathering embodies an intuitive approach to the role of the father in the new green family. It’s a positive model of masculinity and fatherhood, of being fully present with our family and fully conscious of our power as men.

First we act as strong fathers, capable fathers, intuitive fathers, and then we become great fathers.

We act as friends and teachers to our children, and through teaching them we receive our own education.

The rewards of fatherhood are many, but the personal growth that happens when you become a father is huge. There probably isn’t a school or book anywhere that can teach you as much as having children does. By living simply and focusing on the important things in life, like love and good food and positive relationships, our children learn those things alongside of us. It’s a blessing.

Derek Markham

Things I dig include: simple living, natural fatherhood, attachment parenting, natural building, unassisted childbirth (homebirth), bicycles, permaculture, organic and biodynamic gardening, vegan peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, bouldering, and the blues. Find me elsewhere at @NaturalPapa, @DerekMarkham, Google+, or RebelMouse.

One thought on “Fatherhood and Personal Growth

  • July 5, 2011 at 3:15 pm
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    Hey Derek,

    Just found this post. I really resonate with what you’ve shared.

    Have fun learning to be a great dad!

    Reply

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