Wednesday, June 02, 2010
When I taught my son to ride a bike, we of corse went through the mechanics of pedals and brakes. But I also told him stories. I told him the story of me trying to learn and flying over the handle bars in my parents front yard. I told him stories of biking around my small town and of the time I raced down hill and ended up riding half way down the gravel on my face.
Stories like that can do a lot of things. They can give you glimpses of the excitement to come. They can serve as warning to learn from. And they can show, despite the struggles, you can come out the other side. I hope that is what my bike riding stories did for my son.
That's the way it is with The Faith of a Child by Stefan Lanfer.
This is not a manual for father hood. Those are out there and they are important, but so are stories.
Lanfer explains in the preface that his wife was surrounded by a support group of women to guide her through the path of motherhood, but for him it consisted of primarily jokes about the sleep and golf that he would never see again.
In his own life Lanfer made a big pot of chili and invited men in his life to come over and fill him with their stories. It is one thing to know the mechanics of what will happen in the maternity ward, it's another to hear the stories of men who have been there.
And seeing that void, he wrote this book.
The chapters are short and easy to read. Written in a style somewhere between poetry and prose. Some stories are sad, some encouraging and some funny. Even as veteran stay at home dad for 10 years I enjoyed reading Lanfer's stories of becoming a father and of fatherhood. Some places our stories differ, but a lot of times it reminded me of some of those early years. So even if you have been a father for years you will enjoy reading someone else's journey.
The real target audience is the expectant father. The one who has yet to journey down the path. I think these stories will do the same thing they did for my son learning to ride his bike.
So my suggestion is when you have a friend that is on the path to fatherhood and the women are putting together a shower to celebrate the mother, make a big pot of chili and invite other friends who are on their various fatherhood paths to come and fill the expectant dad with their stories. Then give them this book to continue hearing stories as they continue their journey.