TOOL #6: Relationship Tools that Work
To be good a dad, you also need the willingness to listen, the skill to truly hear, and the ability to relate deeply with your wife and children.
“I felt he never heard what I was really saying. He always wanted to fix the problem. I just wanted him to listen to me.” Amy, divorced mother of three, talking about her ex-husband
“It makes all the difference in the world when I know that my husband has really heard me and understands me.” Maria D., happily married mother of four
As men we like to take action. However, to be good dads, we also need the willingness to listen carefully, the skill to truly hear, and the ability to relate deeply with our wives and children. This set of what I call Relationship (or Relational) Tools is of critical importance to being a good dad, and it is no accident that it follows the Empowering Servant Leadership Tool we discussed in the last chapter. We will not be able to really serve our families unless we are willing to carefully listen to and truly hear what they are saying to us. Certainly we can’t expect our family to be open with us and share with us their deepest hopes and dreams and fears unless we prove ourselves able to listen to them, truly hear them, and relate deeply with them.
Relational Tools in the Ten Tools of Fatherhood include these three critical skills: (1) the willingness to listen carefully to your wife and children; (2) the ability to actively understand the deeper message behind the words; and (3) the gift of being able to deeply relate to each family member. Let’s briefly look at each of these.
The Willingness to Listen Carefully
Careful listening is mostly a matter of the will. It means putting other matters aside and making an intellectual effort to listen fully and intently to what your wife or child is saying to you. Men, this is not something that most of us are very good at doing. We’re busy, we’ve got lots to worry about, and we don’t have time for “whatever it is my wife [or kid] wants to talk about for the umpteenth time.” If we have an attitude like that, is it any surprise that our spouse or kids confide in us less and less . . . or maybe not at all?
01 – The Importance of Fatherhood
02 – The Power of a “Noble Family Vision”
03 – Overview of the Ten Tools of Fatherhood
04 – TOOL #1: Family First/Fun
05 – TOOL #2: All-in Marriage
06 – TOOL #3: True Moral Compass and True Humility
07 – TOOL #4: Heartfelt Love
08 – TOOL #5: Empowering Servant Leadership
09 – TOOL #6: Relationship Tools that Work
10 – TOOL #7: Heaven’s Help
11 – TOOL #8: Other Good Dads
12 – TOOL #9 Optimistic, Never-Surrender Attitude
13 – TOOL #10 Dynamic, Whole-Person Support
14 – Being the Best Single Dad You Can Be
15 – How to Handle Lifes Beanballs
16 – Thirty Ideas for Long-Distance Dads
17 – Conclusion: The Ongoing Fatherhood Journey