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How to "Father" in a Pandemic Part 2: So, you're a teacher now.

 

 

       So, it’s day 24,234,634 of self isolation and now you have to add “teacher” to your resume. First of all, you’ve got this. Yes you.  As a dad, you may not have gone to teacher’s college, but you can do this. How? Well here are a few pointers. 

          Stay informed. If you are stuck in the house together, find out what the school’s expectations are for your kids.  If you have shared access or regular visits, keep up to date with how your kids are doing with their school work.  Find out if there are assignments that need to be done, or if there are any particular struggles your kids are having with a certain subject. Make your time and visits fun but don’t make it that only one partner is carrying the burden of school. Have school as part of your time together. As dads, we can step up and be a powerful and important voice to encourage our kids at this time. 

       Show interest in learning. “Boring” is a dangerous word. Take time to know what they are doing in their schoolwork and help them see the joy in learning. That can look like a lot of different things, but the main thing is for you, yourself, to enjoy learning.  Share with them a subject that you are interested in and let them see your passion. For a child to see their dad excited about something he has learned can make a big impact. If they are stuck on their schoolwork, help them find some resources that can help them along and get them to look at the problem differently. 

     Get help. You are not alone in this. Reach out to your children’s school and share with them the problems you are having. They will be more than happy to help, and they will be impressed that, as a dad, you are involved in their schoolwork. 

Don’t look at this as another burden, but an opportunity. Maybe you are having a hard time mustering up enthusiasm for learning.  Have a conversation with your kids and see if there is a mutual skill that you can learn together. Check out some of these places for inspiration. Here here and here.

Enjoy learning together.

 

Dave Drabiuk is head of the Men's Program at the Belleville Pregnancy and Family Care Centre.  All men are welcome to meet with Dave on Wednesdays. Men's Program runs 4pm-5:30pm every Wednesday. Feel free to contact him at dave@bpfcc.ca.  

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How to "Father" in a Pandemic

Right now, there are a lot of unknowns and insecurities in the world. As a dad, whatever amount you have access to your kids, let your relationship be a place of stability.   Be their rock. 

       How can you show that? Build trust. When you give a promise, you keep it. When you are supposed to be there for that phone call or Facetime, you are there. When your kids are pouring out how they are feeling, you are that listening ear and voice of reassurance. When they have questions, you help them find an answer.  (This part will involve being properly informed from good sources so that you can accurately address kids’ fears and worries, but also setting parameters on your news consumption that you will not overwhelm yourself with your own fears and worries.) 

        They need to see that you are stable but that you are also real.  Show how you are feeling about what is going on and what you are thinking. Do not burden your kids with everything, that will be overwhelming, but acknowledge that what is happening is very big and very different. Tell them that you don’t have all the answers but are trying to figure it out. They need to see you are human too. 

Right now, kids need their dads. Be there for them. Be that authentic, stable presence they need in their life. With that being said, if you are feeling overwhelmed in the midst of this crisis please reach out.  This is not a time to feel alone. 

 

Dave Drabiuk is head of the Men's Program at the Belleville Pregnancy and Family Care Centre.  All men are welcome to meet with Dave on Wednesdays. Men's Program runs 4pm-5:30pm every Wednesday. Feel free to contact him at dave@bpfcc.ca. 

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Congratulations, you're a dad!

“Here is your daughter,” said the doctor.  The magnitude of that moment hit me in so many ways when they placed her in my arms for the first time. I felt a wave of emotion and I knew that every area of my life was going to be changed by this little girl.  The second thought I had was that no matter what happened, I was going to be her dad.  No matter how horrible I was, or how far I ran, the reality was, that I was always going to be her dad. Then the next wave hit me and I went to the bathroom and threw up.

Being a dad is a big deal and how we take hold of it matters.  The one fact that can’t be changed, is that you are a dad.  You can be a good dad, a bad dad, a barely-there dad, a caring dad, but you are a dad.  Don’t hide from it.  Be open to being a student of fatherhood, dedicated to doing your best and prepared to learn what it means to be a good dad. Don’t let your past define you, your fears and insecurities cripple you, or your career ambitions consume you. It is good to feel the enormity of being a dad, but we all need help. None of us have it all figured out. If you're struggling to find resources, or just need to know there are other dads out there, please reach out to the Belleville Pregnancy and Family Care Centre to connect with our Dads' Program.

 

Dave Drabiuk is head of the Men's Program at the Belleville Pregnancy and Family Care Centre.  All men are welcome to meet with Dave on Wednesdays. Men's Program runs 4pm-5:30pm every Wednesday. Feel free to contact him at dave@bpfcc.ca. 

 

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Dad's Unique Role in Teaching

One of the special roles we have as dads is in the area of helping our kids to learn. Research shows that when fathers are involved, children do better in school both socially and academically. When it comes to our children’s learning, dads have a unique ability to spark a hunger for creativity and discovery.  We can open up the world in our children’s minds with our words, our presence, and our actions so that they see something new and enjoy things in a new way. The problem is, that life seems to smash the joy of learning out of most of us.  Busy schedules can squash our children’s creativity.  In the midst of the regular chaos we try to simply survive by going to work, getting our kids to whatever lesson, practice or program, and getting them back to bed. How can we help our kids to widen their eyes to the world around them and capture the joy of learning in the midst of it all?

First of all, are we still enjoying learning ourselves? When was the last time you watched a show that taught you something new or picked up a book that made you see the world in a totally different way? Capture that joy of learning for yourself. Kids notice a dad who is constantly nagging them to do their homework, but in their own lives have stopped learning long ago.

Second, don’t feel like you always have to hit a home run when you just need a base hit.  We don’t always have time to take our kids for an hour long hike and amaze them with our knowledge of the woods, or sit under the stars and explain the mysteries of the universe. Sometimes, it can be as simple as pointing out the bees flying in and out of the flowers next to the McDonalds drive thru while you’re on your way to the millionth swimming lesson and asking them, “What are those bees up to?”  Maybe while you’re running around Wal-Mart, point out what country a product has come from and ask them, “What continent is that country in?” It’s an amazing thing when kids can be awakened to the opportunities to learn through the world around them outside of the four walls of a classroom.  

Finally, don’t stop Dads. Life is hard, life is busy, but the role of helping our kids to learn will make a rich legacy that will live on a very long time.

 

Dave Drabiuk is head of the Men's Program at the Belleville Pregnancy and Family Care Centre.  All men are welcome to meet with Dave on Wednesdays. Men's Program runs 4pm-5:30pm every Wednesday. Feel free to contact him at dave@bpfcc.ca. 

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A Father's Presence

       Spending time together is something that is happening less and less. In a world that is more connected than ever before, a new reality is emerging. We don’t spend as much time with other people face to face; talking, laughing, and eating a meal. We have replaced so many of our interactions with people with interacting with devices which makes certain situations more efficient such as a checkouts at a grocery store, but one area that technology will never replace is the presence of a father. There are some unique benefits for child development that comes from having a father there. Studies have shown that the way fathers play with their children is different than that of a mother. Fathers tend to be more spontaneous in their play helping develop kid’s curiosity. This fact might not be in the front of children’s mind but what will be is that they know when Dad’s here anything can happen. They also tend to encourage rougher play which within proper limits can help children develop self-confidence. So let’s spend time with our kids. Don’t worry so much about making the most amazing Instagram perfect moments but enjoy the small moments that are all around us together. It makes a difference. When more and more people are feeling lonely in spite of being more connected; let’s have Dads step up and make an effort to simply be with their children in a way only they can be.

 

Dave Drabiuk is head of the Men's Program at the Belleville Pregnancy and Family Care Centre.  All men are welcome to meet with Dave on Wednesdays. Men's Program runs 4pm-5:30pm every Wednesday. Feel free to contact him at dave@bpfcc.ca. 

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