Encouraging Fathers With The Teachable Spirit

» Posted by on Aug 21, 2014 in teachable spirit | 0 comments

Encouraging Fathers With The Teachable Spirit

How does a young father get experience?
How does a young father become successful?
What motivates a young father to continue in spite of how he feels?

My son, Isaac Van Mechelen, taking the opportunity to teach social studies to the children of Ingrid, January 2013.

My son, Isaac Van Mechelen, taking the opportunity to teach social studies to the children of Ingrid Education Centre, January 2013.

Teaching is one of the best ways the teachable spirit learns. During my tenure teaching Adult Basic Education (ABE) to students at Highline Community College (HCC) in the hope of assisting them to obtain their General Educational Development (GED) diploma, I used various topics and ideas to assist the process of developing essay writing skills. One concept I used frequently was asking them to talk about the difference they are today compared to ten years ago. Reflecting on maturing as a father, one student wrote the following essay:

My children, Amy and Isaac Van Mechelen, with  my grandson, Ty in Mt. Rainier National Park, June 2014.

My children, Amy and Isaac Van Mechelen, with my grandson, Ty in Mt. Rainier National Park, June 2014.

The person I am today is completely different than the person I was ten years ago. Ten years ago, I was a young father with no experience at all with relationships, and especially no experience raising children. But, I had an obligation to take care of my family no matter what. I took whatever job I could find regardless of how degrading it was. I climbed under houses, breathing insulation, digging trenches; everything everybody else did not want to do. But, I did it knowing my family would benefit from my hard work. I went without any lunches all day so my wife and my children would have the little food we had at home. I would do it over again if I had to. Life throws a lot of punches at you, so you just punch back.

My children, Amy and Isaac, on the occasion of my birthday, Tacoma, Washington, June 2014.

My children, Amy and Isaac, on the occasion of my birthday, Tacoma, Washington, June 2014.

Things began to change as I got older. Reality became more clear and focused. I could see my wrongs and was able to correct my life for the better. The more I improved myself, the better my family was. In order for me to make my life better, I had to understand that only I can control my destiny; God can simply guide me. Everyday I try to improve myself anyway that I can, even it if is something small, I try.

My "family" in Kenya; Douglas, Grace, Ian, and Jeremy, Nairobi, Kenya, October 2012.

My “family” in Kenya; Douglas, Grace, Ian, and Jeremy, Nairobi, Kenya, October 2012.

It is sad to see so many broken families, kids without a mom or dad, and families with no structure. It just makes me want to be a better dad and husband. So, the man I am today is basically the same man I was ten years ago, but I can now look back with brutal clarity at my past and I will be able to show my children which paths are good and which paths are bad. I hope the person I am today will be able to teach the next generation to learn from their mistakes, and try to be the nicest person they can be. –Todd Lehrkind, HCC, November 24, 2004

Looking at the next generation: Ty (Tiberius) Van Mechelen at Lake Merritt, July 2014.

Looking at the next generation: Ty (Tiberius) Van Mechelen at Lake Merritt, July 2014.

Thank you Todd, for your honest response to the question. I appreciate your teachable spirit, that reflects your humility, gratitude, honesty, and introspection. The best thing we can offer our children is to improve ourselves. It sounds like you are doing just that! I can see from your essay that:

  • you gained experience by just doing it
  • any improvement you experienced was reflected in your family
  • you stayed motivated because you saw the value you were to your children
  • teaching your children through example developed your teachable spirit

As my mother always said,

“Children do not come with an instruction manual.”

Ingrid Education Centre observes that providing the necessary training for children like this one will increase the opportunity for greatness, January 2013. Photo by Isaac V. Photography.

Ingrid Education Centre provides the necessary training for children who have no fathers or have inadequate provision to give them an opportunity to improve themselves, January 2013. Photo by Isaac V. Photography.

Even though we have some experience when our first child is born, we have a lot more experience after we have raised them, which seems anti-climatic. Consequently, new fathers can be very intimidated by the process of raising their children, especially if they feel inadequate about their role in society or feel short changed by their upbringing.

As a way of encouragement to our young fathers, think about this:

What if your child had no father at all?

Children of Ingrid, Nairobi, Kenya, January 2013. Photo by Isaac V. Photograpy.

Children of Ingrid, Nairobi, Kenya, January 2013. Photo by Isaac V. Photograpy.

What you bring to your child’s life  in terms of love and discipline is exactly what they need because you are their father and not someone else. Thank you for determining to be the best father you can be, continuing to have a teachable spirit, and improving a little bit every day so that the next generation has a good example to follow.

Contact Douglas Monene, founder of Ingrid Education Centre via email: douglasmonene@gmail.com to learn how to sponsor one of the children who attend Ingrid

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