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More Reflections on Being a Disabled Dad

December 29, 2016

While I write from the perspective of a disabled dad, the more I write the more I realize these are challenges – choices – each father must face. I just have an more acceptable excuse! But make no mistake, it is just that… an excuse. Nothing more. Nothing less.

As my brother &  his family are visiting for the holidays, all of us went out to a nearby farm, skated on the pond and enjoying sledding & snowmobile rides on a beautiful sunny afternoon. Last night, I reflected on why the day was significant.

I went… with the family.
Instead of staying home and doibbotson-fam-skate-sled-steve-sitting-by-fire-dec-28-2016ing other work (or watching something mindless on tv), I joined the family, fully realizing I am not able to skate, walk through inches of snow, or enjoy sledding up & down hills and around the open field. Yes, it was a little cool on the feet since I did not wear thicker socks or proper winter boots, but the campfire provided more than enough heat. We enjoyed almost three hours in the winter wonderland and I witnessed our children, their cousins, grandparents, and my siblings having so much fun. But I did not use my inability to actively participate as a reason (excuse!) to be absent. I had to be there to enjoy it!

I let others serve my family.
I realized later how blessed I am to have two brothers, a father, a nephew-in-law, brothers & sisters-in-law, who all helped our children… whether tying up their skates, skating around the pond with them, playing hockey with them, sitting with them on the snowmobile or pulling them behind the skidoo on a sled. Everyone had a great time together and I enjoyed seeing others joy in having fun with our children. My wife also did a few activities with them, but for the most part, our extended family just all did stuff together, every one taking turns.ibbotson-fam-skate-sled-pond-dec-28-2016

While I could be frustrated I, myself, could not do those things, its not about me. The children experienced the same activity and had just as much fun, whether uncle was pulling the sled or dad was. They had just as much fun skating on the pond, whether grandpa did up their skates or mommy. I have to let others serve my family, more often than I like. Ideally, that is how a family works; every family member serving all the other family members. How often do we not allow others to serve us because our ego, pride, and arrogance get in the way?

I looked for the benefits.
As you may have noticed, I have little sympathy for those who walk around (or live) feeling sorry for themselves because of their “disability.” Rather I choose to look for the positive things arising in a situation, try to put my personal dis/likes aside, and find the benefits! There is no value in playing the “what if…?” game. It only leads to further frustration. Living in reality and learning to identify, reflect, and enjoy the blessings is a much more meaningful way to live (and makes it so that other people are actually willing to hang around with you).

As mentioned in the opening, these lessons apply to all fathers and mothers – not just me as a disabled dad. Maybe I am more acutely aware of my limitations, though I think that may also make me more attentive to taking advantage of the many benefits available.

How have you been challenged to take difficult circumstances and work them for good?

Feel free to check out other posts about the dangers and benefits of being a disabled dad and a disabled husband.

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One Comment
  1. I have a lot of respect for you. It is awesome to see all you have accomplished, not just in the world, but in your heart. Your children have an awesome dad. Many people could learn from your example and maturity.

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