The word facilitate means "to make easy or render less difficult."
One way to make fathering easier for dads is to help them come to their own “Aha!” moments. Are you doing that?
The best way to create an atmosphere that leads to those moments—marked by self-awareness and growth—is to be fully present with each dad in your group. When you are fully present, you will be a better facilitator.
So, how can you be more in the present moment with your dads?
I recommend reading Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn. In this book, he states:
“Mindfulness is awareness, cultivated by paying attention in a sustained and particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”
The good news is you can become more mindful by paying attention, a trainable skill, capable of ongoing refinement.
Kabat-Zinn covers four simple recommendations for formal practice around posture, what to do with your eyes, sleepiness, and protecting the time you’ve established to practice. Moreover, he provides audio tracks for guided practice that can help you be more mindful in key areas including:
- Your body as a whole
- Sounds, thoughts, and emotions
- Pure awareness
“Life becomes the meditation practice and the meditation teacher, and whatever happens in any moment is simply the curriculum of that moment.”
It’s amazing to think that every moment with your dads is an opportunity to be more mindful and catch things you would’ve missed before. Things like an expression, tone of voice, a change in demeanor, or a chance to ask a probing question that unlocks a deeper understanding of themselves.
The book also reveals that if we are not careful, it is far too easy to fall into becoming more of a human doing than a human being and forget who is doing all the doing and why. This is a crucial concept to understand, especially for facilitators. It is easy to get caught up in the next thing you want to say or to move onto the next activity in the curriculum at the expense of an “Aha!” moment for your dads. This is when facilitation becomes more of an art; it’s finding that balance of covering all the key concepts and activities in the curriculum while knowing when to let the group breathe. The more mindful you are, the easier that will become.
I encourage you to dig deeper into the practice of mindfulness as a way to connect better with your dads and ensure they have a continual stream of “Aha!” moments.
What are some next steps you can take to be more mindful?
How can you incorporate mindfulness into your work with dads?