Willow Magazine CREATING LIFE - Page 98

success, their advantage; whether in school, work, with family or their friends.

I was lucky enough to meet a man in my early twenties who touched my soul and opened my heart. He let me cry and held me tight. For the first time I discovered some genuine, true closeness and real manhood. No games, no masks, no pretending. I could be myself.

Years later when my male identity evolved into becoming a father, it meant to work again on myself and the way I communicate. I was desperate to figure out what’s going on with me on an emotional level, as life as I knew it crumbled away around me. We just could not pretend all was as it used to be and continue our life when we and our world had completely changed.

Arguments, hurt feelings, loud voices, tears and slammed doors appeared amongst extreme tiredness, insecurity, anxieties and bewilderment. In order not to fall apart we had to do something. Together. It all started with my wife and I on our so-called sofa-and-us evenings. Together we started exploring our past: we looked at our own childhood and discussed what actually happened there. Then we came back to the present and our current conflicts. I asked myself: What makes me angry and what do I do when I get angry? Am I able to see the emotions underneath that anger; could it be sadness, fear of abandonment, the need to feel safe and loved? I started to learn how to recognise and communicate my emotions and needs clearly, to show my vulnerability and open up.

My wife and I cried, laughed, talked, hugged each other, sobbed, went quiet, talked more – and my and her healing process began. Our journey of reconnection and deep bonding brought us closer together than ever. From

then on we always make sure to take enough time for our Listening-Evenings.

We sit down, no distraction, no phones, nothing. Just her and I. We talk. We listen. We connect. We don’t judge, we don’t criticise, we don’t make assumptions.

Kids don’t need a super-dad, but someone real; someone they can trust and talk to. A male person who loves them unconditionally and sees them as they are; no labels, no judgments, no accusations, no blame. I want them to observe that men are able to open up, talk clearly, listen actively, apologise and be authentic.

In those early days of fatherhood I realised that I wanted to give my sons a better start into the beauty and chaos of life than I had. I want to raise my children in ways that will make it easier for them to connect to their emotions and express their needs and wants clearly. I want my sons to become men who can communicate in peaceful and effective ways to be able to connect to others deeply.