Posted in: Hot Topics
Topics: Healthy Living
If you’re looking for inspiration or ideas for how you can become a better parent in the new year, look no further. After reading a Boston Herald article (and accompanying video) about former Boston Celtics player Brandon Bass, we were compelled to share some of the wisdom we gleaned from Mr. Bass’ story. So, as you think about resolutions or changes you want to make this year, keep these ideas in mind:
1. Be Courageous, Step Out of Your Comfort Zone, and Learn Something New
“Last summer he jumped in the pool at the Charlestown Boys and Girls Club to show other novices — all of them at least half his age — that fear of the water is easily conquered.”
At the ripe age of 28, Brandon finally learned how to swim. Like many kids growing up in poor, urban environments, he was never taught to swim by his father, or by anyone else for that matter. It was becoming a father himself — and knowing that he didn’t want to miss out on this important, fun, family activity — that gave the adult Brandon Bass the impetus to change.
To make this happen took no small amount of humility, and an even greater dose of courage. In fact, it took two kinds of courage. First, the Webster’s Dictionary kind: “The ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous.” Secondly, it took the kind of courage Brene Brown describes in her popular TED Talk: “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” The fact that Mr. Bass is a public figure with legions of young boys and girls looking up to him, underscores how truly courageous his actions were. As Ms. Brown says, vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage. In addition to the swim lessons, Brandon Bass also recently took a piano lesson from a member of the Berklee College of Music faculty in front of an audience of high school students, all members of Berklee’s city music program.
2. Understand Your Past and Find Forgiveness
“Not being with my dad inspired me to have a close relationship with my son, and always be there for him. As I got older, I saw how dads were there for their kids, but the fathers I was around as a kid? It wasn’t like that. That’s why I don’t hold a grudge against my dad, because that’s the culture they were from.”
Forgiveness is hard one. Moving through—not past, or around—the pain and loss of growing up in the shadow of an absent father is work that can last a lifetime. An essential stage of this journey requires digging deep to find empathy for the one who did the hurting. In Mr. Bass’ case, he not only appears to have found that empathy, but even goes a step further: he sees his own father’s absence as a gift, a constant reminder to be present for his own children. Turning what was coal into diamonds.
3. Resolve to Be Fully Present and Grateful for Your Children
“I can’t even fathom life without my son. The first night I stayed in the room, and when we got home I remember holding this little dude, man. I had him on my chest. That bond right there to me is just unbreakable. God’s greatest gift is for you to be able to have a kid. Oh man, I’m so grateful.”
Okay, fully present may be too tall an order. A dad once told me that he makes eye contact with each of his children for a minimum of ten minutes per day; this commitment – especially today, when our eyes are glued to electronics so much of the time – guarantees his children will feel his full presence each day. Try it. After all, as Brandon Bass reminds us, having a child is a gift that we should feel grateful for everyday.
A version of this post originally appeared and was written by the author (Badalament) for The Fatherhood Project’s blog. To learn more about The Fatherhood Project, visit www.thefatherhoodproject.org.
View the Boston Herald video of Brandon Bass learning to swim: