Shawn Fludd is starting a book club for dads and helping dads become a reading role model for their children.
As dads in this era, we are changing the way we are looked upon. We are not only financial providers, we are caregivers. With the changing times, we should take the opportunity to help each other and learn from each other. This is what I was thinking about when I read about the upcoming book All In by Josh Levs. Mr. Levs sued his employer for paternity leave rights to be able to spend more time with his kids, and won his case. He has written an incredible book to teach us how to join together to get rid of outdated laws, policies and stigmas, and make society work better.
Reading about this, I realized that it’s time we have our own book club to discuss our fears, share our joys, and offer suggestions to one another. I’ve created one based in the Los Angeles area, which includes fathers living across the nation, and I encourage you to join me. The book club is for dads, expecting dads, and those considering fatherhood. We will be reading and discussing books and publications to help and inspire us to become better, more engaged fathers. We’ll also be using online meeting tools so that anyone can take part in the discussions virtually.
We will be launching May 2015, and starting with All In.
How much is each member expected to read weekly? The amount of reading will vary based on what we are reading at the time. Our main goal is to support and learn from each other.
Can members suggest a book or publication to read? Yes! We would love that.
Ability to Purchase Books: If you do not have the means to purchase the books, let me know. I will be able to assist in some way.
My personal email is [email protected] Send me an e-mail with the subject “Sign Me Up” and I will get you enrolled with us!
I hope that through these discussions we’ll get to explore what fatherhood means to us. When you first learn that you are going to become a dad, there are many thoughts that run through your mind. Among the joy and excitement, is that primal instinct to be a provider and believe it or not, a nurturer. We think that by nature the mothers should have the more nurturing instinct, but the truth is that we men can have that too.
Once your child is born, the mother of your child has just carried your baby for nine months and given birth. While she’s overjoyed…she’s tired. She likely has the option of taking some time off work to be able to recover and build that strong bond with the baby.
You, on the other hand, are just as excited but that instinct inside of you feels compelled to work harder to bring home the bacon. This is where we need to stop and think about which instincts we allow to take over. Sure, in the past we have been expected to be the main providers but times are changing and the role as a father is transitioning into a much more involved one. You’ll see more stay-at-home dads now likely than ever before, so we need to couple that provider instinct with our ability to nurture and find a balance.
Fathers can and should take the time to build a strong bond with their new babies as much as possible because it will lead to better relationships among you and your partner and to be a better caregiver to your child. I would also encourage new dads to help and nurture the mother of their child as well.
As a proud father of three boys, ages 2, 4, and 20, I am experienced (though still learning every day) and have been a very involved dad. Don’t get me wrong, I work a lot and I work hard but I make sure that I am engaged in the lives of my children. With my oldest, I always sacrificed work hours to make it to a parent teacher conference or a game because that was where my priority lied, in being an engaged dad.
As men, we are built strong. Men are natural providers but we need to understand that providing is not always about money. We need to provide hugs, kisses, playtime, and time for conversation to our children.
I want to encourage you to do a few things:
1) Take a serious look at your daily schedule to make sure that you are making time to spend with your family. If your current job consumes a lot of your time, consider looking for some creative ways to create flexibility.
You can never go wrong with asking the powers-that-be for some flexibility options.
If you work late, make breakfast a fun family affair.
If you work early and late, write notes for the kids to wake up to in the morning and make them #1 on your days off.
Take an occasional vacation day, just to sit at home and enjoy your children.
2) Have open conversations as often as possible. As your kids get older, they will have a lot of questions about life. They will seek answers to these questions either from you or from someone else who is available. Let those answers come from you.
3) Spend time weekly reading with your kids. Reading builds strong minds, creates conversation, and is bonding time. Believe it or not, you may learn a little something too!