Communication. It’s really not just about what is spoken and heard. It’s about what we see, what we learn and the experiences that we have. Each individual variable – speech, hearing, cognition, vision, etc – adds to overall communication and helps to convey something: A message. A thought. An issue. An experience. An event. An occasion. A lesson. A life changing process.
It all facilitates the relationships we have: with our parents, husbands and wives, sisters and brothers, children and grandchildren, friends and lovers. Communication makes these relationships richer, more whole – and also becomes the barometer or pulse for the health of the relationship. It all takes work, understanding (even more than just hearing), sensitivity and love.
Such is the case with our relationships with our fathers. A father is a very integral part of a child’s life – providing a combination of love, understanding, and discipline in order to convey messages of trust, faith, accountability, sensitivity and integrity. Fathers are, in many ways, the superheroes that provide the skeleton of strength, trust and love on which their children grow and flourish. The key, of course, is in the communication of these ideas. Through words. Through behaviors. Through actions.
Our fathers teach us lessons with their actions. By watching what they do, we learn how to behave, how to treat others, how to handle life’s challenging moments and what is acceptable. We learn what’s important. Fathers teach men how to be responsible, loyal, trustworthy, respectful and how to provide love without being overbearing. Fathers teach women how to respect and expect respect in return, how to be independent, and how to maintain boundaries. Fathers teach the next generation a hard work ethic, the art of being ambitious, and how to be good leaders. Our fathers become, in many ways, the backbone of the development of our personalities in interpersonal relationships. Our fathers-through their actions, behaviors and through their relationships with their children-communicate what is acceptable in terms of behaviors and how we treat each other.
Sometimes our fathers provide a role model on how to be strong, independent women. More prevalent than ever before are the women who, because of circumstance or choice, take on the paternal role in addition to the maternal role. They teach their children to never to give up, to rely on their own resources and to learn to rely on others on a limited basis only.
Communication through words is easy. We can convey our message using the right verbiage vocalized to a listener. The listener can hear us and understand the message being conveyed. However, speech and hearing are just two conduits to communication. Communication is a much broader activity that is mitigated through actions, behaviors, and through demonstration. We are the people we want our children to become.
Children listen. Children observe, see and learn. Our words, actions and behaviors guide them along their path. A father stands as a source for his children to look to in order for them to learn how to travel their own ways – who to be, how to treat others, what ideals to hold close and true.
Cheers to all the fathers out there who have gained finesse with all their communication skills and who make their children feel warm, safe, secure, respected, valued and loved. They are raising children who are as strong, brave, ambitious, respectful and sensitive as they are. Family is everything, and communication keeps those relationships strong.
Communication, in whatever format it is provided, facilitates our relationships and makes them very powerful.
Happy Fathers Day to all the Dads out there and to the Moms who – by choice or circumstance – serve both roles. A special shout out to my own superhero – my father – who taught me to work hard, to give and expect respect, to be giving and loyal and to always have hope for the best in every situation.