Just for Dads ~ November 2019

by Ward Williams

Being a huge fan of country music, I have really enjoyed Ken Burns’ documentary, The History of Country Music. My son and I were talking on the way home from church and I mentioned to him that after watching it, I think fatherhood and country music have a lot in common. My son, thinking he was clever, asked me what alcohol and a man’s relationship with women have to do with fatherhood. I commented, “Son, there are lots of children in this world because of alcohol and men’s relationship with women.”

Here are three ways I think good country music and successful fatherhood are similar:

  1. Both are greatly influenced by family tradition. In both, you learn from the generations before you. There are so many things that are unique to your individual family, from old wives’ tales to unique beliefs that have been taught generation after generation. Keep them, cherish them, and pass them down.
  2. The importance of understanding the individuality of each person. Garth Brooks finally was successful when he stopped trying to imitate George Strait. Everybody, including musicians and children, are created unique. There is only one Garth Brooks, only one Hank Williams, only one Jimmie Rodgers and only one of your child (or each of your children) that was created to be set apart with their own destiny and purpose. We can raise our kids with the same principles, but we have to realize they are unique.
  3. Best when done collaboratively. Good country music is a collaborative effort and not competitive. In parenting, we are all too often competitive with other’s successes instead of working together when there are struggles and disappointments and celebrating the victories. Johnny Cash was cut by his record label. Out of that disappointment came the collaboration of The Highway Men, which produced some of the best music ever created. We are stronger when we collaborate, work together and use the gifts of others to help our situation.

Ward Williams is the founder and executive director of Vineyard Family Services. Contact him at ward@vfsdads.com.

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