Mums and dads are confronted by a bewildering array of decisions and choices, not to mention endless advice from pundits and experts on what's 'best' for your child. How to navigate all of this? Here Thomas Lynch, co-founder of Scotland's Dads Rock playgroup network, says that when all is said an done, there's actually just one answer and it's really very simple.
-- This is article #28 in our #100Voices4Men series
It’s a song, and in my humble opinion an absolute classic. The simplicity and brilliance of Lennon and McCartney, the two song writers must always be remembered; too often we get caught up in over-analysing and coming up with complex beliefs and theories about the world around us.
There are endless theories about what a boy/man ‘should’ be, how we need to act, react, and what is appropriate and inappropriate. But to me, love is all you need.
Freedom or boundaries?
My son is six, and together my wife and I are helping him navigate the journey of being a boy. When you write it down, it seems simple. All we have to do is keep him on the right path, whatever that may be; we are there to nudge him slightly. To speak and discuss what he thinks about the world around him. At times we give him clear lines in the sand, and other times it’s all a bit more mercurial than that.
Sometimes I question my stance, does he need more freedom, and are we too strict? Or does he need more boundaries?
My sense is that society has shifted and individuals have more personal responsibilities than when I was growing up. Less reliance on older family members and more reliance on peer groups, and our own beliefs.
Perhaps I feel that way due to my own disconnect with my father. As my son was finding his personality and gaining his independence, my own father was disappearing. My father died when my son was four, he had a long illness which took his personality and we lost the ability to really talk and gain those last words of wisdom.
'The best job in the world'
By the time we all knew he was dying it was too late, my dad was not a man for complex theories on bringing up boys anyway, but it would have been good to be able to try. In the end, and most importantly we had love, the ability to care for his most basic needs, and hold his hand through his own journey.
I see what my wife and I are doing is holding our son, and at times holding his hand, letting him go a little to feel his way. Waiting for him to check in with us, as time moves on we will let him go more and I am sure he will come to check in less and less. At the centre of it all is love, it really is as simple as that.
To me being a parent is the best job in the world, and for fleeting moments I stop and feel overwhelmed by the responsibility. As they say in Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility. However reality then kicks in and I remember there is no green goblin or sandman to fight, and that love is all you need.
Thomas Lynch is the co-founder of Dads Rock and Dads Rock Academy, Scotland’s only network of free playgroups for dads and kids, to find out more about their work visit the Dads Rock website here.
You can find all of the #100Voices4Men articles that will be published in the run up to International Men’s Day 2014 by clicking on this link—#100Voices4Men—and follow the discussion on twitter by searching for #100Voices4Men.
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