At The Dad Network we wanted to provide a place to work with other dad bloggers. It seemed like we all had the same motivation and the same goal, so why not work together. We want to encourage and promote other dad bloggers in order to encourage and promote the role of dads within family life. As a result, we’ve teamed up with some other dads and each week, we’ll be publishing a guest post from another dad blogger from around the globe. Be sure to check out their blogs!
Changing your Spots
There is a famous idiom that is often quoted stating that ‘a leopard cannot change his spots’, in general terms it means that how you were born is how you must stay in life. Now I am not discounting the validity of mans genetic make-up, but I would dispute the premise that a man is unable to change who he is or his path in life. Many men these days are finding themselves becoming fathers without having had great examples of fatherhood to follow. It is therefore important that we as men take a serious look at the ‘family patterns’ we have experienced and decide whether or not that we want to continue down that path, or choose a better option.
I grew up in a lower class part of town, and although I always had enough to eat physically there were many areas in my life that were malnourished and in need. Although it may have happened at some time, I can never recall hearing the words ‘I Love You’ spoken in my family. My parents did the best they could for our family but with alcohol abuse and violence never far away, it was rarely a secure environment and eventually they got divorced. The ‘family pattern’ I experienced left much to be desired and I wondered if this was the type of life I would lead as I grew up as well.
When I was 13 years old I had an experience that would change my direction in life dramatically. I offered to baby sit a newborn for a family member to give them a couple of hours for shopping, what could go wrong? Well as soon as they left the baby woke up and starting crying, and continued to scream for the next few hours! I had absolutely no idea what to do, and while holding the poor little thing and trying to comfort it I had an epiphany, a dramatic and impacting realization. I realised that this baby was totally dependent upon me, that it was fragile and in need, and that as a man it was my job to make sure it was safe and cared for and if need be to give my life to protect it. It was a revelation of what real fatherhood entailed, and in that moment I decided that in the future I was going to be the best father to my own children that I could possibly be.
I realised that the ‘family pattern’ I had experienced was seriously flawed and subconsciously began a search to find a way of family life that was better. It wasn’t until my early twenties that I found what I was looking for, a ‘family pattern’ that felt right to me. I was travelling in Far North Queensland, Australia and spent a few days with a Christian Missionary and his family. Within their home I saw a family that was loving, encouraging and accepting of me and of each other; not perfect but real, and it seemed like they actually enjoyed each other’s company! The love they shared resonated within my heart and I knew immediately that I had found the ‘family pattern’ I had searched for.
The family I grew up in did not have the benefits or understanding of what a great ‘family pattern’ could bring into their lives, and suffered for it. I rejected the flawed ‘family pattern’ and changed my course in life and have reaped the benefits of that change. My own family is not perfect, but we are very close, we support and encourage each other and have lots of fun together. We know what it’s like to go through tough times and also what it’s like to enjoy great victories together as a family. The words ‘I Love You’ are spoken often in our home and returned freely. We give and receive forgiveness quickly because we know how to say ‘sorry’ when we blow it! We respect each other’s opinions and realise that we all have to find the path in life that feels right to us as individuals.
Can a leopard change his spots? I did, and if you feel you need to, so can you.
John Nolan Bio
John Nolan was born in Brisbane Australia in 1961
John is the Founder of Dadsuni, a free website assisting men in their role as fathers. Dadsuni is available on the Web, Facebook and Instagram
John and Adele were married in 1992 and have 2 children, Joseph 19yrs who is currently studying at University and Esther 18yrs who works for an international charity.