I’m no parenting expert. But from time to time, I receive requests for advice from my readers. Sometimes I’m able to share solutions to problems I’ve experienced. Other times, I must refer the reader to a professional. However, I’ve discovered that many people already know the answers they’re seeking and they simply want someone to talk to and I’ve filled that need for several of my readers. I don’t offer advice. I don’t try to fix their problem. I just listen.
The reason why I listen is because I understand how difficult it is for some parents to admit that they have a problem. As a young father, I had many doubts fears about my ability to raise a child. I really wanted to be a perfect parent. Unfortunately, no one told me how to do that. I never enrolled in Parenting 101 or received the Parenting Manual. I struggled. I made mistakes. But I continued t0 seek the path to parenting perfection (hint: it doesn’t exist). Thankfully, I had a network of men in my life who helped me through these personal struggles. They listened to my concerns and gave me encouragement. This network has been invaluable to my development as a father. That’s why I continue to give to others inside and outside of my real life and online networks.
Through this blog, I’ve met some great parents who have also taught me how to be a better dad. These people have been more than readers, they’ve grown into friends. We share life together through tweets, e-mails, Facebook updates, and comments on each other’s blogs. I’ve not only benefited from these connections, but I’ve also helped a few friends to cope with some difficult situations in their lives.
Over the holidays, I received a card from one of my readers. At first, I thought I was just a regular Christmas card, but when I opened it, I realized that it was much more. Early in my blogging career, he contacted me about a problem he was having with his teenage daughter. I listened to his situation and offered encouragement. Over the next few weeks we exchanged messages and continued to work through this problem together. After a while, our communication about this issue started to taper off, but we remained in contact through social networks.
I hadn’t thought about the situation with his daughter until I read the card: “Thank you for helping me deal with the situation with my daughter,” it read. “I really appreciated your help.”
That message warmed my heart and I will keep that card as a treasured possession.
Blogging was never meant to be a one way conversation. It was intended to be a dialogue. I’m thankful that I’ve been blessed with readers who trust me enough to share intimate details of their lives as I share mine with them.