In the midst of our rough and tumble, my second son (Gabriel) unexpectedly blurted out, â€œDaddy, youâ€™re a good man.â€ I was stunned and immediately stopped from playing and looked at them in the eyes which seemed to say, â€œYes you are Dad.â€
Hiding my watery eyes and wanting to keep my composure, I asked him, â€œWhy do you say so, Anak?â€ And he said, â€œBecause you are my Daddy.â€
Now, this line of logic is very common among children. We call this transductive reasoning where the cause becomes the effect and vice-versa. But to me, he answered my question straight to the heart. It is not because of something that I do or possess, I am a good man simply because I am his Daddy.
Until today, my sonâ€™s statement continues to echo in my head. When I had a confrontation with my wife, I heard it so loudly. When my rear bumper was slightly scratched by a tricycle, there it was again. In my moments of silence, it is such a sweet music to my hearing.
Gabriel may not know, but he just gave me a precious gift which I would treasure forever. It is something where no amount of money can buy, no rust can destroy, or any thief can steal.
For several years now, I have been investing in my relationship with my sons. I bring them one-on- one to a date if I had the opportunity. I play with them when I have the time. I listen to them when they speak and show them respect as I do to others. I get angry at them, discipline them, hit them very occasionally, but make sure that trust is not lost in the process.
And that night inside our room, I finally reaped the fruits of my faithfulness. My children perceive me as a good man. They could not for now explain that. But it does not matter. It means the world to me.
Many parents I know struggle to nurture obedience in their children. But some resort to their authority and strength to do it. They want obedience to be immediate by employing harsh discipline. But this will do the trick on a short-term basis only. Gradually, children will create a wall which will require more strength and authority from the parents to penetrate.
But what I do is influence their perception. In relationships, perception is everything. How you look at the people in your life affects your behaviour towards them. How do you look at your wife? How do you look at your children? Only then will you also be able to form part of their perception of you effectively.
This Christmas season, and for the rest of the Christmases in my life, I will bask in the perception of my children. I am a good man to them. Ah, such a sweet and precious gift. I do not mind if others donâ€™t have the same perception of me. How my sons look at me is more than enough.
P.S. At the end of the day, it is always about relationships! My friends and peers in the CFC-Youth for Christ (not really a very long time ago), will finally meet again in a Christmas reunion on December 21, at BIT Dao, A.V. Hall. Come, let us reminisce the times. We know part of our lives has been YFC and will always be YFC. J (By Kit Nemenzo Balane)