I’m a good husband, no- let me rephrase that – I’m a great husband; I’m kind, considerate, supportive and helpful; I do my best to be the best provider that I can be; I share my plans, hopes and dreams with my wife; I’m proud of my wife and I appreciate all that she does to make our family what it is. I think I’m a great father as well- I ensure that my children have all that they need to the very best of my ability, I make time to be at home with my children, I meet my children’s friends, what more can my family possibly ask for?
I attended Wellbeing and Resilience sessions which not only taught me a lot but changed my perspective on a lot of things. One of the many things that I learnt was on a concept called holding space and creating a safe space. Holding space means creating a safe space for someone you care for to explore the path towards healing, it means fostering a healthy atmosphere where others feel free to express themselves, it means actively listening when someone is talking to you-giving them all your attention, being fully present in the moment.
I also learnt about spheres of influence, where I am a person of influence first at an individual level then at the family level before I can become a person of influence in the community and the workplace. Therefore, if there are any changes that I hope to see in my workplace or in my community, I need to begin effecting those changes at my level as an individual then at the family level.
These lessons gave me a lot of food for thought; I begun wondering whether I have been holding space for my family members beginning with my wife. I began wondering what kind of influence I was having on my family. There was no other way to find out but to ask, so I set up a family meeting- I begun with a meeting with my wife.
To my shock and consternation, my wife did not share the same opinion I did as concerns my performance as a husband. I learnt at our meeting there are ways in which I have been wounding her, ways in which I made her feel overlooked and diminished, ways in which I discounted her contributions. All these things and others had really affected her negatively and she no longer looked forward to our interactions and our time together. I was in shock! I was even more surprised when she shared incidences where I had acted in the aforementioned ways, it was true that the said incidences had taken place, but I had not realized at that time that my wife was hurting!
What followed was a wonderful time of reconciliation. I wiped my wife’s tears and asked for her forgiveness. My gesture really touched her because in all our time together, I had never initiated such a conversation like the one we had just had. My children are all away in boarding school, I look forward to having this same discussion with them when they close school where I can hear how they rate my performance as a father.
I will commit to ensuring that I create a safe space for my family as well as my colleagues. I want to be a positive influence on my family, then on my colleagues and community and in this way, effect positive change in my society.