This is the preface to the Fatherhood essays that I am writing.
I have been a grandson, son, father, grandfather and recent great-grandfather, yet the memories of becoming a new father remain fresh in my mind. Severe chronic challenges were encountered, yet, with God's help I was able to prevail. This collection of essays is about what was learned on that journey from a young man to a great-grand-father. Many things were learned, challenges overcome, mistakes and memories were made; a lot of growing was done by the entire family.
These essays contain the observations, experiences and challenges that were faced by up to 4 generations of fathers. The manner of writing used here may seem a bit severe, perhaps even negative at times. The motive of heart is to communicate the unvarnished truth so that, with God's help, you too can prevail as a father. These writings can serve as kind of a template of several fathers' approach to managing the challenges and issues of fatherhood. I don't think the challenges are unique, but the response to these challenges will be unique. The issues raised in these essays may help you prepare for the unexpected.
In my journey through life, there was almost no training available on how to handle or manage the challenges of life. I had to learn how to manage and how to grow while struggling to keep the family together. These essays do not contain problem solving "recipes". You, your situations, and circumstances are all unique and demand unique responses which ultimately are determined by you.
Sudden, surprising challenges can scramble your life, goals, ambitions, relationships, self-image, and feelings. You can be plunged into an unfamiliar, unpleasant, painful, and confusing world. What is disclosed here are the tools and skills that have been important to be able to navigate such a world and to endure the challenges that were encountered.
You may find these essays a bit "preachy" and be overwhelmed by all the advice that is presented. Be assured that what is presented here is not theory; I lived what is shared here. My initial experience as a father was to make mistake after mistake and almost become a complete failure. It required time to become skillful. These essays expose the reader to decades of learning in a very short amount of time. Give yourself time to absorb what is shared. It is expected that the reader may experience some very strong emotions about this information, just as I did. I was driven to find the truth, so regardless of my emotions, I worked to learn until there was a resolution and I was at peace. This requires time and patience.
Fatherhood is one of the most important jobs you will ever have. As you endure and prevail, your children can learn to endure and prevail as well.
To the Father and Mother
It requires and father and mother to produce a child. A child needs both a father and a mother to raise him or her. This is a biological, genetic requirement, not an artificial social construct based on artificial gender roles. As such, it is a godly human right for each child to have a male father and a female mother to raise that child. It is best that the father and mother fulfill their responsibilities together with unity of purpose. I raised my children with their mother but I am not qualified to write about motherhood.
To society in general
In these essays, I unapologetically use gender specific pronouns which accurately reflect reality. If the reader finds this to be offensive, then my advice is to stop reading.
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(C)2017 Keith S. Radcliffe