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Even the Lone Ranger needed Tonto. We are no different. Every man needs someone to lean on. No matter how tough of an act we try to pull, we are fooling ourselves if we think that we can get by all on our own. To be the father that we want to be, we have to understand that there is benefit in having others around to lend a hand from time-to-time.
After getting my feet wet in the world of counseling, I quickly realized one need that, if not addressed, was a bane to any success my clients might hope to make. That need is a support system. Merriam Webster Dictionary defines support system as: “a network of people who provide an individual with practical or emotional support.” Our supports can come from home, school, work, religious affiliates, clubs, groups, community, or general places of recreation. In other words, supports can come from anywhere. A good support is someone who not only has their own interests in mind, but considers yours as well.
One of the best supports in our life could and should be your partner. If you’re married, then you have made a commitment to stick with this person through thick and thin. Your spouse has made that commitment to you as well. Your partner, in the context of a healthy relationship, is someone that you can go to for wisdom, rest, and insight. If it affects myself and my family, I try my best to run everything past my wife before making a final decision. It can’t hurt to get a least one extra set of eyes on the situation.
While we are discussing things that I have learned through counseling others, let me share another one with you. People tend to like to help us. It feels good to swoop in and save the day. In most people, there is a drive to want to nurture or be the hero for others. If our partners believe that something can be done to meaningfully meet our needs and there are no barriers (emotional or other) holding them back, they are likely to give us aid.
The friends that we have developed over the years are another support that we can look to. Now, I’m not talking fair-weather friends, I mean real friends. The kind of friends that are there for you when they have nothing to gain. Men struggle to make these healthy relationships, especially as they get older. If you can’t name at least two or three guys that you could call today if you lost your job and needed to talk, then you are missing out on something huge. My encouragement for every man is that they do all that they can to maintain healthy friendships with a few upstanding gentlemen. Make sure you are there for your friends as well. If it has been a while since you have last spoke, call them up this evening and tell them that you are thankful for them. It might sound sappy, but if you want to have real friendships, you must do this often.
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Finally, it might be in your best interest to connect with your community. There are men and women all over the world that have made it their profession to help you and I get through the trials of life. Do you need food, housing, further education? Many communities can help you with these basic needs. Are you wanting to start up a new business or take on a different career path? Look up a few businesses in your area and ask if you can chat about taking the next steps. These people might be the same people to help you get your foot in the door.
Most of the jobs and important opportunities I have gotten over the years have been from the recommendation of someone I have met along the way. Talk with any successful businessman, and they will tell you that networking is key. You’ve probably heard it before, “it’s good to have connections.” Let me say this again, having a support system is crucial to success as a father. There is a wise saying that goes, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Make maintaining strong connections a high priority in your life; this is where your rock-solid strength lies.