Being a father means so many different things to different fathers.  But from a daughters point of view, what comes to mind when I think of my dad is simply  – wonderous, steadfast, warm, understanding, protective and pretty much capable of anything –  no pressure there dad, oh yes and did I mention just a little bit quirky.

This last week I was fortunate enough to head off for a full day business seminar where out of the 500 attendees,  I would say that 300 were men, and they had some interesting view points on the subject of fatherhood.  Some felt quite exasperated at times with the challenges of rearing teenagers, others spend a large part of their lives on a plane off to another business conference and others are full time fathers, and mum is the one away on business four out of seven days. Fathers come in so  many different shapes and sizes, but I am interested in the spiritual side of being a father, and how to keep the work-family-self Balance.

A fathers role in the family is so much more than the ‘breadwinner”, their role changes all the time as circumstances change within the family, children grow and needs change, but one thing is for certain, they have a huge influence in the development of their children, and studies now show that children who have a male role model in the house are at an advantage socially and academically over children who do not.  For one, behavioural issues are fewer and language skills are higher – according to Maureen Black, researcher and professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.  Girls having constant support and admiration shown by the father, grow into independent and confident young women. The father figure sets the benchmark of what she will come to know in relationships throughout her life, so offer her true respectful love and that will be her foundation for the rest of her life.  But how do fathers keep their own sense of self intact and not “burn out”?  Diet and relaxation are paramount to keeping yourself IN BALANCE, so ditch those takeaway meals, over indulgence of alcohol and sugar and keep up a hobby.  The wonders of time spent in the sun and breathing fresh air too simplistic to some but its powerful medicine. (Vit D in its most natural and usable form) A great book I came across is ~ Meditation for Men Who Do Too Much ~ by Jonathon Lazear.  Here are some quotes from the book: The manner in which one endures what must be endured is more important than the thing that has to be endured.~  Silence does not mean inactivity.  It may mean that I am deep in thought, and that I will be all the better for my inner journey. ~  I will do my best to replenish the fuel to change every day. ~  I will learn my limits, and in so doing, I will learn that I have many possibilities. ~  If I make one change today, I know it will give me impetus to make another tomorrow.  I”l look for a new door tomorrow and the day after. ~  I want those I care for to know that I consciously make my decisions, that I am present for them and accountable to myself.

A truly wonderful little book with an insight for every day of the year.

In our western world, few people have a lifestyle that gives a sense of wholeness- most people live their life amidst forces that pull them apart.  Work rarely gives anybody the time to eat well or to nurture themselves, and all too often a pill is taken to “fix” a problem instead of going to the root cause. The soft Chinese martial arts like Chi Kung and T’ai Chi Chuan, teaches that every single area of life is fundamentally interconnected, the physical body, mental, emotional, sexual, spiritual and even the foods you eat.  Underlying all these aspects are the concepts of Chi or vital energy which needs to be kept in Balance.

By staying in balance we are able to focus on our true inner self and truly live in the NOW.  To all those fathers and fathers-to-be, Stay true to yourselves and your children will surely follow.