If children connect with their mothers from birth, where do dads fit in? Author/engineer Scott Hanley was determined to build good relationships with his two sons, all the more so when he became a single parent caring for them. His book, The Dad Connection, describes how he did this and offers wise advice for all relationships, not just parenthood. “The truth is, there are multiple ways to be a good parent; indeed, as many as there are children,” says Janice R. Levine, PhD, in her forward to this book. The trick is to recognize what works, be willing to change, and to accept that love and learning are a two-way street. The book’s subtitle, A Bridge to your Children, is supplemented with well-chosen chapter descriptions revealing the essential supports for bridges and relationships, the building blocks, and the importance of maintenance. The author gives (and occasionally repeats) many examples from his life with sons. Some of their actions together might scare a mother. But each son is different. What one does, another will avoid, while the wise father takes pride in both. Examples from other parents’ lives show how mistakes proliferate, and perhaps the wisest lesson in this book is the author’s willingness to let his children teach him. Say Sorry. Recognize that children view the world differently. Be aware of their needs and faithful in offering support, even when what they want seems illogical and inconvenient. Pleasing letters from his adult sons show how past events became lessons learned and beloved memories. “[L]ove, respect, perspective, service, energy, support, patience, and trust” form the supports of Scott Hanley’s bridge to his sons. “[Y]ears of work and experience” went into integrating them. Readers looking for a one-size-fits-all self-help guide won’t find it here. But readers willing to learn for themselves will find plenty to intrigue and inspire. My only complaint is I’m not convinced all children will cross the bridge, even if the father (or mother) builds it right. At the end of it all, it’s still a two-way street, and sometimes even the best-built bridges fall. But the author's advice on building well is wise and well worth the read.
Disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book with a request for my honest review.