100 Dads – Show Love

Rodney, a kind man and a trusted colleague, was one of the first to share his thoughts on parenting. Living his life with two young boys, he’s an eager Dad and a solid role model. No question Rodney is raising a couple of great partners for some lucky people, as his dream. He states, “I want them to meet a good spouse and be happy.

Having been parented by a single Mom, and losing his Dad at just age four, Rodney has a great appreciation for all it means to be an engaged and loving parent. He loves everything about being a Dad.

Rodney takes the job very seriously and only has one complaint, random and unexpected wake ups. I’m pretty sure even when he is grumpy, it is the sweetest grump ever.

Rodney, “Show them how to be, don’t tell them. They watch everything you do.Tip 6

I appreciate how Rodney highlighted the need to, and how to, demonstrate love and affection in a number of his tips. In my upbringing love was professed, but not often demonstrated. I knew I wanted things to be different for Michael. I too wanted to show him, not just tell him.

Throughout my parenting there were times I wasn’t feeling very present or expressive. There were times I wasn’t thrilled with having to be a parent. In those moments I employed what I referred to as a “Meryl-Streep-Mother-Mode.” 

I reached to put my feelings aside, act mature, responsible and even thrilled. I put on a happy face and “acted as if.”  We can all do this! It does require focus, skill and most of all maturity. Kind of follows the premise, “fake it until you make it.” Parents must be convincing. Action and expression are a prerequisites. We have to show them.

As a child, the phrase “I love you” was bounced off the wall every day; however, authenticity was missing. It’s hard to believe you are loved if the person telling you has their lip curled, if they don’t reach out to touch you to show you.

As a child, I felt the words were empty when I heard them and when I said them. I was not convinced. There was little expression and no demonstration of happiness when I entered a room.

I far too often reflect on how things would have been different had my Dad been able to show love. What the love of a Father would have meant.

I wanted to ensure Michael felt love without any question. I wanted to convey it in words, actions and feelings. I wasn’t always in a loving mood, but when I wasn’t I did launch into “Meryl-Streep-Mother-Mode.”  Even when I wasn’t feeling so loving, I was sure to include expression, epic-award-winning expression.

I remember when Michael would return from a sleep over, I would await his arrival sitting on the front step. When I saw him I said (with a big smile), “I haven’t moved from this place since you left. Life is so boring without you.” Michael would smile back, knowing I was kidding, but maybe wondering if this could be true. For certain, love was conveyed. I was present and expressive even if, at times, not entirely genuine.

Of course, I was happy to get an overnight break. At times, I was stressed when Michael was returning. I had many things to do, and much to worry about. Sometimes I didn’t want to be a Mom. I would never let him see it. Never!

I think at times, parents give themselves too much credit for just ‘being there.’ Those parents love to belly ache about how they are “always ‘there.’” I think just being ‘there’ can do more harm than good. I can say this from experience. The magic lies in being present, not just ‘there.’

Thanks Rodney for sharing your thoughts. What a strong foundation Rodney’s sons will have with a present Dad and having had the benefit of witnessing a loving husband. I’m sure with all your love, your dreams for them will certainly come true.

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