If there’s one thing I know, it’s that you never stop growing.
Even as a parent, there’s always room to grow.
I’ve talked about it over and over again whether it’s on Instagram, in my blogs, or if you’re talking to me in person. If you’ve ever heard me talk, you’ve probably heard me mention how important learning is to me. I make it a point every day to learn something new because it keeps me sharp and ready to take on anything that comes my way.
One thing I think a lot of people don’t pay much mind to is that if you’re a parent, you still have things you can learn that will help you be a better parent. Even if you think you are the best parent that’s ever existed, there’s still something out there that can help you. Your overall goal should be the well-being of your children. You want to take care of them the best you can, so trying to improve yourself for the sake of your children should be one of your top goals.
My daughter is starting to get to an age where she’s going to start seeing the world differently, and the world is going to look at her differently too. She’s turning 13 this year and, as a parent, this is scary. It seems like just yesterday I met her for the first time and now she’s almost a teenager. It can be a really uneasy time for kids her age, too. We’ve all been there, even if it feels like ages ago we can all remember how tough those years are.
My wife and I work together as a team when it comes to raising our children, and we came across this idea in a book we read about how to handle this time of transition in our daughter’s life. A Voice Becoming: A Yearlong Mother-Daughter Journey into Passionate, Purposed Living by Beth Bruno gave us a great idea. Bruno talks about the many cultural traditions around the world that relate to this coming-of-age time and it’s something I feel like our country and nation has really lost out on. Since we are so young compared to other world cultures, we haven’t had a whole lot of time to develop much in the way of strong traditions. I’ve talked before about how I feel family traditions are becoming a lost art in my blog “Our Modern Family Traditions: How We Started a Tradition To Make Our Memories Last Forever,” but this is more about society in general losing touch with traditions.
I want my daughter to have a strong understanding of herself and the world, even when it feels like everything around her is changing. But in order for me to give her what she needs to do that, I have to make sure I have the tools I need to be a good father. Using some of the ideas we learned from A Voice Becoming, my wife and I have started our own tradition for our children when they reach this age. We really centered this journey on our spirituality, which is something that plays a huge part in my family’s life. But I figured it was about time my daughter and I worked on our relationship, so we went on a trip.
The Restoration Project
Chris Bruno, married to the author of A Voice Becoming, runs a program located in Colorado called Restoration Project dedicated to helping men become better fathers. Their mission is to create a world where:
“…men are men as God intended – where fatherlessness ceases to exist and the hearts of men are fully restored to God, family and community. We imagine a world where the inner wounds of men are healed, where men know God deeply and wildly, and where men move from an inner core of strength to restore God’s Kingdom to the world.” –Restoration Project, About
These all sounded pretty good to me and my goal as a father and they were hosting a special father-daughter weekend, which was the perfect opportunity for my daughter and I to grow together. Restoration Project also hosts events for father-son relationships, so if you’re interested in seeing what all they have to offer, check out their website here.
Me and Johnna spent a lot of time together. It was a great opportunity for me to get to know her on an extraordinary level than before. We spent the entire weekend, from Thursday morning to Sunday afternoon, growing in our relationship as a father and daughter. It was a really rustic and down to earth experience where we spent the weekend tent-camping at an elevation of 9000 feet. There were a ton of fun activities and opportunities for deep and spiritual connections, too.
By far the most impactful part for me as a father was the time we spent reflecting on our childhoods and relationships with our own fathers. We explored the way our parents raised us, the good parts and the bad, so that we could learn from that and use it to become better fathers. No matter how hard you try, no one is ever going to be a perfect parent. There are always going to be things to improve on and the only way to figure them out is by learning, which is why I think opportunities like the Restoration Project are so useful as a parent.
After everything we went through on our trip, I can say that our relationship has grown a lot. Even now, I see her in a totally new light. I see and treat her now as a woman of God because that’s exactly what she’s starting to become. I really do think this trip has helped me to become a better father and I would highly recommend this program for anyone looking to improve themselves as a dad.
It doesn’t have to be specific to having a daughter, in fact Chris Bruno wrote a book, Man Maker Project: Boys are Born. Men are Made, where he gives really great advice on raising boys. This couple has some great insight for parents wanting to better themselves, so make sure to take a look at everything they have to offer.
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