I’m not a father, but I’m an active uncle to my 11 yr old ne who lives here.
I’m first and foremost a friend. I’m myself. To me, that is the best grounding to begin with.
At times, I have to play a role but I do so while retaining what is me in the process.
Tonight, I had to help with a problem. 2nd day of school. A summertime book report for a gifted program is due Friday. It’s not a regular easy book report either.
11 chapters done out of 25. He’s been working on it on his own here and there all summer but thought he had an extra week. *surprise!*
So, now what? I help.
I gathered resources to assist, gave instruction on ways to accomplish his project that he might not have thought of on his own. It took some convincing of the doubtful soul as doom and gloom reigned supreme.
But it worked. I came up with the skeleton of a system on how to accomplish his task, sold him on the basic concept and got him started. We refined the process together as he’s the one doing the work and knows things I don’t about it and about himself. and after an hour, not only are three of the chapter assignments done, but second most importantly:
He now has a SYSTEM he can use to finish the rest of it (11 more chapters), BY HIMSELF, tomorrow.
Most importantly? He has CONFIDENCE where he had none before. He’s not usually one to give praise but he came out three times to express gratitude for restoring his confidence in himself and his own abilities.
Was I his friend? Was I his uncle? Was I his father? Was I a leader?
I have no idea. But it works.
If you want to lead dogs, you become a pack leader of dogs.
If you want to lead people, you encourage them on how to best lead THEMSELVES.
I do so by example: I don’t want someone to “be like me” and do the things I do or worship me as a fatherly figure. I can’t stand that stuff.
But I want to best maximize people’s abilities to lead themselves in the ways that are appropriate for THEM.
The example I provide is attempting to lead myself in the best way appropriate for me.
Roleplaying a father doesn’t mean anything to me. It doesn’t even compute for me.