My dad has two sons, so I always had first-hand experience being a father to boys. When my first daughter was born, I wasn’t sure I knew what to do. I was still figuring out women at the time, having only been married 3 years, but I quickly learned that figuring out women would be a life-long pursuit.
It took me a few years, and a few kids, to realize that children each have a unique personality that takes time and nurturing to flourish. With little babies, diaper changes and the physical demands are all the same, but as my kids grow, they each reveal their personality slowly. However, the parental relationship is a two -way street and my kids get to learn more about me as they grow up and I share my interests with them. Of course, I’m thrilled they have all taken on my love of movies and video games, although I wish more of them took on my interest in programming and entrepreneurship, but this interpersonal sharing comes to the heart of the matter.
As humans, we need to learn how to relate to people who are like us and who are different than us. The most basic difference is present in any family: the difference between male and female. Each child has a parent to whom they are similar and a parent from whom they are innately different. Considering this difference, my wife and I split up “the talk” so that she handles the girls and I handle the boys. However, after “the talk” the other parent speaks briefly to the child to describe a bit more about our NFP teaching (fertility awareness) and to explain that we are both available to answer questions and both knowledgeable on the subject. When I told our girls that I was comfortable speaking on these topics with them, it was a big deal for me, but nothing happened immediately. It was later, as they navigated growing up, that there were small moments when something was challenging and I was able to support them and share a connection that wouldn’t have been available to me if I was uncomfortable with fertility topics. These moments aren’t very common or easy but that makes them even more valuable as points of connection in our relationships.
With all the confusion on these topics in modern society, my knowledge of fertility awareness has been a huge help in building my relationships with my daughters and in navigating the challenges of growing up. Growing up is hard in any time and age; I’m not even sure I got it right judging by the amount of time I play Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom on my Nintendo Switch, but at least I am able to support my daughters on their journey.
Jim Volpe lives in eastern PA with his wife Jen and their five children. Jim and Jen have been a teaching couple for 18 years and Jim is a FSI coach. When not teaching NFP, Jim enjoys board games, video games, splitting wood, and software engineering.