Happy Father’s Day

To all the Fathers (and Father figures!) on this list…the care and love you provide to your children plays a pivotal role in their growth and development. RIE fathers (and all Educarers) provide a model of what it is to be empathetic, someone who listens, someone who holds boundaries, and someone, perhaps most importantly, who sees children for who they are, not for who they wish them to be.

Thinking of Magda Gerber and her thoughts on visibility and love drew me to this quote from the RIE Manual where she muses on what it means to feel loved…

It makes me feel good, it opens me up, it gives me strength, I feel less vulnerable, less lonely, less helpless, less confused, more honest, more rich; it fills me with hope, trust, creative energy, and it refuels me.

How do I perceive the other person who gives me these feelings? As honest, as one who sees and accepts me for what I really am…who is available when needed, who listens and hears, who looks and sees me, who shares [their whole] self—who cares.

Cares.

To care is to put love in action.

The way we care for our babies is then how they experience our love.

How and when we:

Pick them up

Smile at them

Talk to them

Hug and kiss them

Tolerate their crying

Set limits

Restrain

Allow frustration

Allow free exploration

Allow free choices

Foster independence

Give clear messages of how we feel and what we expect

I know that all of the fathers on this list are showing up for your extraordinary children. Thank you.

And I absolutely want to acknowledge all of the ways that fathers and father figures who up in a child’s life…that list includes families with one Dad, two Dads, no Dads…Grandfathers and Uncles and good friends and neighbors….let’s celebrate those humans who are doing the hard, but oh so rewarding work, of raising good humans.

And I want to end with what I said last year: Whether you are carrying on a tradition of respectful loving care or breaking a traumatic cycle, you are making a profound impact on your children. And you do not have to do this perfectly. It’s better if you don’t. Just do it lovingly and authentically.