Happy Mother’s Day! This time of year is perfect for reflecting on all the ways your wife, mother, grandmother, sisters or any woman who has cared for someone who needed a mom, has impacted your life. Mother’s Day also creates the perfect opportunity to consider how much it means to have a great partner as a spouse that in turn, allows you to be a better father.
Some of you may not have a partner who can fill that role, and for this, my heart and prayers go out to you. But for those of you who do have a great partner, take a moment to consider the unthinkable – what if she was not in your life?
If you’re like me, you’d be lost! And that is exactly where I found myself eight years ago when my wife and I learned she had stage 3 colon cancer. My immediate thought when I learned the news was will she be okay? And my next thought was, will our boys be okay? In the end, we all survived, and while none of us were “okay,” we became better men. (At the time, our sons were 21, 17 and 13 years of age.)
It was tough watching the only woman we had in our lives suffer the tortures of surgery and chemotherapy. It was through these trials that we grew closer to each other, grew deeper in our faith and saw that we would be truly lost if she was not with us.
During this time of suffering, I developed a better understanding of the unique gifts mothers and fathers bring to their families. Together, through a plan that could only have been conceived through the very hand of God, the unique combination of mom and dad is perfect for what every child needs to face life in the most healthy and loving way.
Ways Men and Women Parent Differently
We know men and women are wired differently, so it’s not surprising that we approach being parents differently. We each bring different strengths to the family. It’s through these unique strengths that together, we bring the best combination of what our children need to get through life. We need to play to our strengths, but at the same time, respect and gain an understanding of where the other parent is coming from – ultimately to the benefit of our children and our marriage.
So here is what a few experts say about how men and women parent differently and how a father’s involvement makes a positive difference in a child’s life. Remember, they are “experts,” so they tend to speak in generalities that may be different from what you experience in your own family. But the bottom line is to respect and appreciate one another and especially appreciate how God has brought an amazing woman into your life to be your partner in bringing up your family.
- Overall – Dads approach tasks with less structure. Mothers like to create structure so children are more likely to succeed in a task. Mom’s way can help a child develop self-esteem. Dad’s way helps a kid develop more independence, confidence and increased tolerance for frustration.
- Play – Dads emphasize competition and taking risks while moms tend to focus on equity. Combine these two perspectives, and you can teach your kids to be competitive but fair, and take risks while understanding consequences.
- Communication – Fathers tend to be brief and to the point, while moms tend to dig deeper. Dad teaches direct, concise communication. Mom teaches descriptive, personal and encouraging communication.
- Discipline – Mom tends to be more nurturing, offering comfort and security over strict discipline. Mom acts as the peacemaker, while Dad is more intent on teaching a lesson. A father’s discipline tends to be more brief and focused on the outside world. Mom’s discipline tends to be more focused on the parent-child relationship.
- Preparing for Life – A dad prepares a child for danger, helping him or her prepare for the reality and harshness of the world. A mom protects a child from danger. Overall, having involved parents helps kids have healthier relationships with the opposite sex. Girls learn from Dad how proper men act toward women, and vice versa.
Our Key to Survival
In Ephesians 5:25-28 we read:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
As Christian husbands and fathers, we are called into a unique partnership with our wives to care for them as Christ cares for the church. When your wife suffers, you suffer. When your wife rejoices, you rejoice. This is especially true as we support our wives as mothers. We serve not from a distance, but fully united with her. We are more than a team, we are one in Christ, which is how we survive this thing called parenthood.
Dan Dolsen is the founder and director of The Fatherhood Project-Building Great Dads. The Fatherhood Project’s mission is to build great dads by equipping them with the tools to lead their families in the roles of provider, protector, partner and preparer. The Fatherhood Project is a Christian ministry and a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation. The Fatherhood Project may be found at www.buildinggreatdads.org .
© 2018 The Fatherhood Project-Building Great Dads. Not to be reproduced or copied without permission of Dan Dolsen. PLEASE SHARE THIS MESSAGE WITH OTHERS! All Bible quotations are from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.