When I became a father, I felt being a wise and dedicated dad was the best type of father to be for my sons. I didn’t consider just being me was an option.
I grew up with a ‘wise dad’; he was pretty handy and could fix most things. He had a deep perception about life and was always there to offer advice. He’s not perfect of course, he has his own insecurities, blind spots and quirky character traits like the rest of us, but his love and dedication to his children is unquestioned.
As I the wise and dedicated dad, I,
- took up the role of breadwinner
- was there if something needed to be fixed around the house
- was on the committee of the kids’ primary school
- was dropping them off to various activities
- would tell them made up stories at bed time
- was happy to share little ‘factoids’ about life and give them advice.
But in truth, I was missing the most important element of fatherhood… just being me…
You see, being the ‘wise and dedicated dad’ means that to be useful I had to have something to do, something to fix, some advice to give. This means at some level I was always looking for the problems, always looking for what was broken and not working.
My need to be the ‘wise and dedicated dad’ actually meant that I was not being ME with my sons, which is what they really want and enjoy (well, daggy Dad jokes aside).
The times I am beginning to appreciate the most – and I notice my two sons respond to the most – are the times when I’m not trying to be the wise and dedicated dad, but just being me.
These are the times:
- when we sit around the dinner table and just chat about our days
- when I allow myself to deeply see the beautiful men my sons are becoming
- I spend time with them, without needing to show them anything, but just hang out.
As my two sons move through their teenager years and they start making their own choices, I can see the hurt and sadness in their eyes at having had a father living in such close proximity to them, but at the same time being unavailable unless I was telling, teaching or showing them something.
As I see these feelings in them, I see and feel the same feelings within me from my own childhood and what it is like to be close to someone and at the same time not really ‘be with’ them. Of course as I look deeper, I see what my Dad’s father was like and I can get the sense of this lineage of ‘wise and dedicated dads’, all who do everything they can for their kids and families but who use that responsibility to avoid just being themselves.
What a setup we have fallen for, to think for a moment that dedication can be found in what we do and the wisdom can be found in what we know, rather than the dedication that comes from the love we have for ourselves and the wisdom that comes from that very same place.
The process of undoing the harm that was caused by growing up with and becoming a ‘wise and dedicated dad’ is still ongoing and I have to dodge the part of me that still wants to make it about ‘doing’ stuff to fix it, rather than just being me with my dad or my kids, regardless of what we do.
Inspired by the teachings of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine
By Joel Levin, Western Australia
This is a really interesting conversation to be having with everyone as why is it we avoid being just who we are warm hearted, gorgeous people? Why have we promulgated such a society built on false ideals and beliefs which we have accepted over the natural beauty that we could so easily be?
Life sets us up and we swallow the illusion, that is until we are wise enough to let go of these harmful beliefs and instead follow the inner heart.
Everyday I appreciate my dad more and more and everyday the love grows stronger even though he is no longer on this plane of life he is so very much with me.
I carried a grudge against my Dad for years, never truly appreciating all that he brought, now however this has completely changed I love him more than ever and dealing with my own hurts has enabled me to see him for the absolute star he is.
Anonymous I haven’t quite let go of the grudge against my father but I can understand that we are the product of our upbringing and so he probably had a tough time too as we are all very sensitive when we are born into the world around us and this gets crushed generation after generation. I detest the way we are brought up and then raise our own children because the crushing process just repeats itself and nothing seemingly changes. But there is a wind of change there is another way to live so at last it really does feel as though there is a different choice we can make. We don’t have to crush our sensitivity or that of our children.
‘I felt being a wise and dedicated dad was the best type of father to be for my sons. I didn’t consider just being me was an option.’ Interesting how we feel simply being ourselves isn’t good enough and yet when we connect to our children as ourselves that is all they want. They feel our essence, they know it and the joy it gives them to be met in the purity of it is confirmation enough that we don’t need to be perfect, just ourselves.
So true Joel, we almost have to throw out the baby and the bath water as our ideals and believes around raising a family is so indoctrinated in creating a division from our way of giving and never simply being a Livingness from our essences.
We and others miss out when our focus is on what we can do. I know I have lived for the longest time and still today (however decreasing) not appreciating what my presence without doing anything can bring. Just being ourselves is amazing in how much care and connection can be felt and others do pick up on it.
Leigh Matson what you say is true most of us are caught up in the ‘doing’ its a treadmill that keeps us locked away from just allowing ourselves to be and knowing that is enough. This is something I’m working on myself.
When we drop the dedication and the ‘doing’ we can feel the deeper wisdom and love of just being who we are.
Taking care for another doesn’t mean to ‘do things’ for them, but being present, available, taking care for ourselves first to be ready to share this connection with others. Then, our care is not imposing or an opportunity of escaping from ourselves, but a true, intimate and nourishing encounter full of love.
Amparo Lorente Chafer I agree what we all crave is to be truly met for all the delicate beauty that we are, if we can learn to truly love ourselves then we can pass this on to all others as it is such a precious gift to allow true love to flow between us.
It has been such a relief to let go of the need to fix anything for my daughter and just enjoy spending time together as her pregnancy progresses and I feel much freer to allow my future grandchild to just be without imposing my wisdom or solutions on them.
It is an imposition, isn’t it when we are playing a role for another person as it communicates there is an expectation or a labelling – you are less and I need to be this for you; exhausting for all concerned. When we are just ourselves we are leaving more space to simply be the love we are and in this love we give the other permission to be themselves too, naturally so.
When we have any kind of need or picture of who or what we think we need to be, it disconnects us from the possibility of deeper relationships – with ourselves and others. It’s the honesty in accepting and embracing 100% where we’re at right now, that helps us deepen and connect more – instead of trying to leap ahead to where we’re not.
It is a set up that wants to take us away from who we truly are, make it about what we do, and know, rather than just being ourselves, loving ourselves as we are and bringing that to everything we do.
When we choose to just be we allow relationships to unfold without preconceptions about where they are headed.
Being ourselves is enough, it keeps life simple, ‘The times I am beginning to appreciate the most – and I notice my two sons respond to the most – are the times when I’m not trying to be the wise and dedicated dad, but just being me.’
It is sad when we are not available to others and that only happens because we are firstly not available to ourselves and that is devastating. There is nothing more gorgeous than truly meeting ourselves and thereby everyone else 🙂
Who teaches parents just that? That parents should first be themselves? But what is that ‘be themselves’? When society bombards men what it should be like to be a dad? Images and believes that are far from the truth, the truth that a dad just has to be connected with his heart to know what to do and what to say, and just be themselves.
We don’t have to look very far to see where our parents have bought into their pictures of what it means to be a parent, and if we look closely enough we will see the same traits and behaviours in ourselves. Having an understanding of how our parents were parented goes a long way to help us to come to terms with the way we were parented.
Maybe at a certain point we don’t consider “just being me” is an option because we don’t realise that we are not being ourselves having identified all sorts of behaviours as you have described as being who we are whereas who we truly are is awesome on a whole other level.
By ‘just being ourselves’ we literally bring the qualities of Heaven into life. It is not a diminished state by any stretch of the imagination but rather a state of absolute expansion.
Beautiful. I come to observe how much we are depending ourselves on our skills instead of our beingness. Where what we actually miss at the end is connection (to this beingness inside). So? What a gorgeous blog sharing exactly where we have been falling for – skills, and where we have not given our value to who we are (beingness). That is our power.
I love reading your blog again Joel, it is a beautiful reminder that the best form of parenting is to be ourselves, to be open to connecting, listening and offer our steadiness to our children. There is not that much we have to do or fix as life and parenting can be so simple when we allow ourselves to be ourselves.
Great point.. how and why do we hide behind responsibility of roles to avoid being ourselves and truly connecting with others? So often we ‘think’ we need to be a certain way for others, yet all they really want us to be is ourselves – without that, there is no real connection of any substance, and things stay very surface (and pretty boring).
Rejecting ourself is rejecting God. So that’s a pretty big hole to try to fill. No wonder we’re so exhausted and deep down know this will never work. Connect back to who we truly are and we can’t help but realise that we have all the majesty of the stars, wisdom of the moon and all of that comes by us simply being – there’s nothing we need to do.
My dad used to pander to me by trying to be the best dad he could instead of just being his tender and adorable self. I liked the pandering in many ways but can see it in no way supported me to grow up to be the true man I naturally am. It set me up with hurts and issues and if I had not known any wiser and dealt with many of them as I have, I probably would have just repeated the same pandering my father did to me to my own kids.
The same can be said about being mum…to many moments can be taken in the doing instead of the appreciation of just being.
Yes, I can fall into this role very easily and sometimes get very caught up in it. But when I get myself out of this state and allow myself to appreciate and simply be myself, my whole house feels more harmonious, everything flows and I can feel a deeper connection in my family.
The more I am a dad that is just being me the greater dad I am, it can be hard to appreciate that the most important thing we can be for our kids is ourself, this shows them they are already everything.
The greatest gift we can give to our kids, ourselves and everyone else is to be our true selves.
I like the “just being me” Dad, sounds much more intimate and lovely to be around.
I agree Elizabeth, it is so amazing to be around anyone who is willing to be themselves, it invites us to connect to ourselves too if we are not quite there. They also feel so much more open to connecting, they feel more intimate and loving, and none imposing to be around.
This can be said of any role- when we go into a role it is like we cut ourselves off from others a bit, like they get the face of that role but not us. I am currently reflecting on where I do this in my life and how I can let go of it.
“I felt being a wise and dedicated dad was the best type of father to be for my sons. I didn’t consider just being me was an option.”
Well thats the way the world is set up, but its so Awesome, that you have broken the cycle and now your sons have greater support in doing the same how cool is that, thank you for sharing.
Joel – knowing you now i would not put the ‘dad’ label on you – you are free of this and your writing really exposes how as parents we can get lost in mum and dad rather than just being who we are. At the end of the day what inspires our kids most is how we are and the reflection we give them. To show them we have given our power away to being a parent is not responsible.
Dedication is definitely important, but what I loved most as a kid (and even now) were the moments when my parents we just natural, wise, amazing and authentically themselves. There’s literally nothing in the world that can replace those moments of intimate connection. And your comment about daggy Dad jokes made me smile – perhaps they are so painful for kids because they know we’re trying to be something we are not and they can see straight through it.
Just being me cuts through the crap and opens our heart, so that we let everyone in including our family. With an open heart the reflection of love that everyone gets is profound.
Wow, this is what I have fallen for too Joel but as a mother role. As I was reading your blog, I could hear myself say, ‘oh yes, I do that, and yes I do this too’. The most supportive, loving and simple thing I can do is to be myself 24/7. This for some reason isn’t so easy but I am sure the more I practice the easier it will be because it is effortless to be myself, I just have to stop fighting what feels natural.
There is so much more love to feel, more love that we are met with when we be ourselves with each other. This is the greatest gift and marker we can offer our children, of just how freeing, beautiful, powerful, natural and fun (I am sure there are plenty more words…) is it being who we are. For our innate wisdom is already a given, accessible through connecting to our love within, who we are.
Not playing a role and being ourselves is the greatest role model they need.
Yes, spot on Vanessa. This is exactly what we all would love to see, people around us being themselves.
Joel, it is wise, as you did, to look around see how your family are in their movements, and their eyes, and not just blame them for their own choices but support the space by bringing all that you want first to yourself inspiring the potential change in them.
It’s amazing how these roles are like jackets or heavy coats we place on ourselves, the pockets full of all the expectations and covered in badges of the many things we need to be to be able to fulfil the role, but is it possible just being ourselves is all we need.
“..’wise and dedicated dads’, all who do everything they can for their kids and families but who use that responsibility to avoid just being themselves.” Lovely Joel, is it not amazing the lengths men will go to prevent or cover up the possibility of just being themselves.
I love this sharing Joel as it made e stop and consider how I am at work and in my relationships. I realise that I don’t often allow myself to be, I often keep a part of me away and carry out a role that keeps a bit of distance there.
Recently my struggle at work has become trying to keep distance between me and my colleagues so that i don’t freak them out. I feel so much fondness and at times love for them all that if I were to simply allow myself to be how I naturally feel to be then I would freak most of them out and be reported for inappropriate behaviour. And although love is our natural way, because it hasn’t been our natural living way for such a long time, we are suspicious of it when it is shown. I herald the day that we are all the living expression of the love that we naturally are.
Joel your father energy is adorable, simply put we need more of this strong, adaptable, loving but firm energy in our world.
What kids really want is quality time with the truth of their father and the truth of their mother . Nothing more than that is required.
We can get so caught up in the roles, pressures and expectations of society that we can all too often forget that the most important thing we can ever do in all that we do is simply be ourselves.
‘What a setup we have fallen for, to think for a moment that dedication can be found in what we do and the wisdom can be found in what we know, rather than the dedication that comes from the love we have for ourselves and the wisdom that comes from that very same place.’ This set up is what the whole of our society is built on. To begin with love, love for ourselves and work out from there is the opposite of what we are led to believe is the way to be. No wonder it is taking a long time to undo the mess we are in.
There is a playfull-ness that comes in when we stop making being a father or a parent about being a provider or being wise. To be ourselves and let our children see that it is safe to be that in the world is a great gift and should be role modeled as our normal.
Knowing that we can just be ourselves in parenting takes off all the usual pressures of supposedly getting it right. We are only human and we are allowed to make mistakes but I feel if we are being true to ourselves we are bound to make far less.
When we simply allow ourselves to be we are not imposing on others and we hold the space for them to simply be too. This is the greatest gift we can offer all and it requires no money or job to done, just the space to surrender to our bodies connection and how we then connect with all from there. Simply awesome thank you Joel.
It’s easy to get caught up in wanting to be something – beautiful, wise, intelligent – you name it there’s so many things we can aspire to be, but what I’ve noticed is that if we just be who we are and quit the trying we are actually NATURALLY all these things.
“The times I am beginning to appreciate the most – and I notice my two sons respond to the most – are the times when I’m not trying to be the wise and dedicated dad, but just being me.” It just show Joel the less we try and the more we allow our natural wisdom to come through that this is what people respond to most, When we try there is a push to be more than we are and this is felt, because we are no longer coming from our natural way of being
It is interesting that our perception of being wise is one that supposedly comes from sharing attained knowledge or having all the answers. Yet as you have shared, so greatly, being wise is a quality we all have access to, through being connected to who we are. This is the greatest and most empowering gift we can share with our children, reflecting a way of being that confirms that truth of who they are, and the absolute joy it is to live in connection to this inner-truth as we live our lives. We have a long way to go to break down this perception and bring true parenting and role modelling to our children, but it is inspiring to feel how this is exactly what you have done and how it is possible to for us all to embrace this also.
I love the warm embrace that the two people in the above photo are having. The level of connection is deep and very enriching. Just goes to show the level of tenderness that men can naturally have.
This is such a great sharing Joel – the unravelling of patterns of behaviour that we may well have believed to be ‘it’, and realise are not.
My how we hide behind, and justify, the roles we do in life – in avoidance of revealing and being all that we are, with all of those we come in contact with, whether family, friend, colleague, or someone you encounter on the street…
Parenting indeed entails responsibilities, yet there are none greater than offering the opportunity for our children to know us in full.
There is nothing more wise, responsible and loving than being yourself in full.
Nailed to a ‘T’ with absolute simplicity Nicola Lessing.
Speaking to my father, now I am older, I can see how he was virtually crippled by all the things and tasks he thought he needed to do. As a kid all I wanted was a hug and a loving kind word, but in my Dad’s head there were a million things he thought he needed to do. Not having kids I thought I was unaffected by this, and living my life my own way. But today I can understand in the strongest sense that I am constantly striving to be the good partner, the good employee. Not only is this needless as you show Joel but it totally gets in the way of the quality we are here to show. Now I get more than ever that we are the father of our own life, and can always give ourselves that hug and permission to be Love.
Goodness, I feel what you share here is something we all do, male or female with our children. It certainly gives space to consider a different way when you illustrate the harm it does.
Thank you Joel. I can relate to the misinterpretation of responsibility into performing the role of wife, mother, daughter etc and the simplicity of learning to being me. This is reflected back as I get older and our adult children are enjoying just being who they are without the duty of the dedicated sons needing to fix things for us.
“What a setup we have fallen for, to think for a moment that dedication can be found in what we do and the wisdom can be found in what we know, rather than the dedication that comes from the love we have for ourselves and the wisdom that comes from that very same place.” I feel this is similar for everyone it is so easy to get caught into what we do and know, rather than the love within.
This blog exposes how the ‘fatherly’ role are often tarnished by what has been passed onto by others or religion or cultural expectations. Even the movies portrays what a father should be like when all is required is to simply be you – a beautiful sharing and much to ponder on for us all.