Father’s Day can bring up a variety of emotions. For some, fathers have passed away so it’s a time of remembrance. For others, their fathers didn’t rise to being a great dad, so there’s a feeling of what could have been. For others, their fathers were great roll models, so there’s a feeling of gratitude. And for most, it’s a mixture.
As a father, who also has a living father, it’s a day of joy, time with the family, and appreciation.
But for those who have mixed feelings about Father’s Day, I want to talk about the Filter of Fatherhood. The lens our fathers did or didn’t give us is just that, a lens. I want to discuss how to identify the filter, evaluate it, and then become our own adult.
Identifying the Filter of Fatherhood
The brain takes in massive amounts of information in a given day. But, it doesn’t store everything. Instead, it creates shortcuts. These shortcuts often begin with a worldview.
- Is the world safe?
- Are we protected?
- Are people out to get us?
- Can we trust adults?
Our brain then files away memories that reinforce these world views. That’s why eyewitness accounts vary so much. We see what we want, not what actually happened. We overvalue sensory experiences that reinforce our filter.
Evaluating the Filter You Were Given
What filter were you given by your father? Was he around or absent? Engaged or not? What worldview did your father reinforce? Once we know what you were handed, we can begin to evaluate whether that’s the filter you want.
Your brain absorbed all sorts of things, but prioritized and gave weight to experiences. One role of a parent is to prepare children to be adults. So one of the best things you can do is to become more of an adult. A major step toward that is to examine the filter and then decide what filter you want for yourself.
Become an Adult
The last step is to examine when the old filter is reinforced. When do you assume that the world is for or against you? When do you feel safe or unsafe? A practical example would be someone who had an absent or disengaged father. Maybe through this process they learned to trust their own intuition more, were more independent as a kid than they should have been, and trusted friends over family. (I do have to make a side note, this is not the case for all people raised without fathers, only a case example)
- What filter were you given
- How do you reinforce this filter?
- Do you want to reinforce this filter?
- What new filter do you want to be natural for your worldview?
- Start changing the internal dialog to match your new filter
Entering adulthood, they can keep these values or begin to challenge this filter. That individual can press against the instinctual inner dialog and reframe it to be the new filter they want.
When we identify the filter of fatherhood, evaluate it, and work to become our own adults, we then take the best of our fathers and create our own filter to create a better life.
Joe Sanok is the owner of PracticeofthePractice.com where he helps business owners to overcome limiting mindsets as they start, grow, and scale their business. His podcast has been downloaded over a million times.