Napkin Quote: It is a Wise Father That Knows His Own Child - William Shakespeare
I have three biological daughters. Their names are Beka, Connie and Chelsea. When they were all young I would easily get confused in calling their names. I would call one name but mean to call another. I would start a sentence with one name when it was another child right in front of me. I eventually came upon a funny shorthand to call all of them at the same time. I would yell out BeConChel, let’s go, we need to leave now! Or, BeConChel, who ate the last cookie from the cookie jar? (that one never got a response).
When I read this quote by William Shakespeare, I don’t think he was meaning you always had to call the right child by the right name. I think he meant something much deeper than just a word. He meant really knowing your child. This seems easy enough doesn’t it? Yet it can be so difficult for some fathers (and mothers) to put into practice.
The purpose and goal of a parent (besides feeding and keeping your child safe) is to find out who your child is and help guide that unique individual towards a successful and fulfilling life. It is not about moulding them into who you are.
In practical terms this means:
You are that child’s defender to the teacher (or other authority figure such as a pastor) who says they should be more this or that. You are not making excuses for your child if they have done wrong, but you are making sure your child is accepted as themselves, not forced to be something they are not.
You are the explainer and reassurer to the child about their individuality and unique character not being bad or odd or unworthy, especially when they are up against a majority or powerful peers who think otherwise.
You are the example to the child about enjoying and embracing your own individuality and personality. If they don’t see you having the courage to be who you are, then they certainly will second guess themselves as well.
You set the example of allowing and embracing others, including your own brothers and sisters, who are different than you are. Living out the truth for your child to see that people are not a threat to your identity just because they are different from yourself.
You are the comforter when your child feels something that someone else (including you) may not feel in the same circumstances. You allow the feeling, not disparaging or dismissing it. You don’t have to believe that is a valid feeling for YOU, as an adult, to have. You just have to acknowledge and understand it is a legitimate feeling for your child to have at that moment.
Be those things and your children will be secure in knowing they are truly known and they will see you as the wise father you want to be.