Ever since I was very young, I wanted to be a father. When I was three, my father left my family. I remember times when I wished my dad was there with me. This lead me to dream about the fun things I would do one day, when I get the opportunity to be a dad.
About 25 years later I got the opportunity to experience fatherhood.
I remember the day my son was born like it was yesterday. He was long, with big feet and light-skinned. Hearing his first cry almost brought tears to my eyes. I was so proud to be a dad, so happy to be able to call someone my son and see him grow up and raise him like I wished my father would have raised me.
I thought it would be very easy to raise a child. I remember thinking that I would always be emotionally available to help my son with all his challenges. I would always be there for him and never get angry, and never do the things that my dad did. I would never leave my family. I will be the best dad I could ever be and I wanted to have a son that was very proud of me. I never really thought about the challenges of being a father.
Then the unexpected happened.
My son was two years old when he went to a preschool and initially behaved very well. But then – the phone calls came. We received daily and weekly messages stating that he has a hard time sitting in class, a hard time focusing, and a hard time accepting responsibility.
…and the calls kept coming, coming, and coming.
I was afraid to look at my phone. I didn’t want to hear the school complaining about something he did in class. I spent more time “checking out” at home and not engaging my wife or son. I turned to sports rahter then talk about my son’d day at school.
Facing the facts about my own behavior was very challenging.
It took some good friends to sit me down and talk to me about how I was truly feeling about the challenges I was having with my son. This intervention helped me face my son’s challenges head on instead of just wishing that they would go away. I never thought that I could be so sad and so down because of the helplessness I felt.
I couldn’t help my son face his challenges.
I would see him looking discouraged or down when he felt like he was in trouble. My poor wife, who carried the majority of the emotional burdens at the time, cried constantly when picking him up from school after she received a negative report.
With the help of praying, my friends and my family we made a decision to get some help for me and my family so we can face the challenges together. We were able to take him to a specialist that gave us some great tips on how to help my son with anxiety, sensory challenges and ADHD. The specialist showed us how to slow down so we can help BJ understand the things that he felt when he couldn’t sit still. We changed our entire family’s diet and ate less junk food and replaced them with more healthy meals and snacks.
My son’s school was very supportive and invested in our family. We were able to work with his teachers, who made classroom accommodations for him that provided a supportive learning environment.
Now in 3rd grade, he is an honor student with a love for math & arts.
These changes made a dramatic difference in how I faced my sons behavioral challenges. I saw my family transformed from running away from hard situations to facing life challenges and growing closer as a family. Every day we continue to grow as a family as we learn how to face challenges without running away from them.
Through these challenging times I realized that it really does take a village to build a family and it does take a village to be a great father.
– Bernard Jones