My oldest son, Francis, grew up amongst a caravan of foster brothers and sisters. Specializing in newborns and infants who had been affected by prenatal drug exposure and addiction, our family was usually comprised of my husband and myself, Francis, his sister, Dinora, who had been adopted from Guatemala, and one or two foster babies. Despite the fact that Francis is severely visually impaired, he played an active role in child care, frequently holding a little one, feeding a bottle and changing diapers. When going to the mall, he and his sister would proudly push the double stroller. (With the 2 of them, he could be a pusher without having to see where he was going…) Throughout his childhood, sixteen foster babies lived with us, and caring for them was just a fact of life.

Francis is now an adult with a Ph. D. from Cambridge, a well paying dream job, a wonderful wife and a cozy home complete with a grill for grilling steaks and a lawn to mow. And, as of three weeks ago, a newborn baby. My week spent with his little family renewed my faith in the power of what is learned in childhood. Without even knowing it, I had trained Francis how to be a good father! He bundles his little girl up in a baby blanket, like I had bundled up those babies who were going through withdrawal. Newborns like being in a tidy bundle because they arrive with strong startle reflexes and without much control of their arms and legs. By pulling her arms and legs in close and securely wrapping a blanket around her little body, baby India can feel safe and secure. When she is awake and alert, Francis rocks her and sings songs to her, songs that he heard me sing so many years ago: “Itsy Bitsy Spider”, “Hush Little Baby,” and “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round”. Even though she couldn’t possibly know the songs, the sound of his voice quiets her, and these songs are easy to sing. When he is expertly changing her diaper, he plays “This Little Piggy” with her toes, gently pulling her feet to his mouth to kiss. He exaggerates the “wee wee wee home” by tracing his finger from her toes to her chin, tickling her slightly before kissing her forehead. And while she sits in his arms on the couch, ready for bed, he reads her books with very large print; “Goodnight Moon”, and “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed”.

On the evening before I left to fly home, he looked over at me and thanked me for giving him the opportunity to practice on all those babies years ago. All of his friends are having babies now, he said, and they are all in a tizzy. Because of the practice HE had, he is a confident parent and not at all nervous with India. I realized that by being a foster parent to infants, I was not only caring for little ones, but also nurturing parenting skills in my oldest sons, skills that will ensure he will be an awesome father!

I have repeated this post from last year. His adorable baby is now a year old, and his father’s day skills have continued to flourish!

If you are interested in reading other stories about Francis, please purchase my book on Amazon.


Comments on: "Mothers, Help Your Sons Grow Up to be Fathers…" (28)

  1. This is a beautiful post, and a testament to the love and good teachings you imparted to Francis. Thanks, Linda.

  2. A wonderful story.

  3. I can’t wait to see what my parenting brings. Hopefully it’s the same good vibes and feelings you’re getting from Francis.

  4. This is an awesome post! 🙂

  5. Wonderful posting.

  6. I love this! What a wonderful way you have brought love and family into so many lives 🙂

  7. What a wonderful testament to the joys of fatherhood. The main ingredient is love and you have taught him that and beyond. He sounds like an amazing man and father and India is indeed lucky he was raised by such a caring family.

  8. shelliegoff said:

    Loved this post! It brought tears to my eyes. What a special gift you are to this world. Thank you for what you have done and continue to do. Simply amazing!!!

  9. SO important. What a great post!

  10. Congratulations on your new grandchild! Great post and so true. It is our job to teach our boys to be caring husbands and fathers. It sounds like you did an awesome job❤️

  11. Congratulations on your new grandchild !

  12. In our fast-paced world full of technology our children play more with iPods, transformers and video games than with dolls, dress up clothes and skipping ropes – we are at risk of forgetting how important nurturing is, whether we are doing it to our children, or they are learning to do it to others. They are growing up in a very different world, a very selfish, competitive and egotistical world. We should all follow your example and make sure our children know how to nurture others, and understand how important and rewarding it is, as well. Go home and hug your children extra hard tonight!

  13. Good fathers are in such short supply, this reminds me that as the mothers of sons we have a very important role to play!

  14. Congratulations on a job well done, mom–and getting to enjoy the fruits of it now as a grandma!

  15. So touching!! You did your work, you put in your amazing effort and voila! So lovely to read of your growing extended family.

  16. That is so awesome! Congratulations!

  17. That is wonderful, and truly, you are amazing!

  18. This is so beautiful. It warms my heart. Thank you for sharing this!

  19. Congratulations! As well, I’ve pinned this wonderful story for others to see @ http://www.pinterest.com/pin/12596073932812072/ 🙂 ❤ ❤

  20. This must have been so rewarding for you! Congratulations on bringing him up in such a loving way!

  21. joujouheaven said:

    its true that we know how to make babies but not fathers

  22. Happy Father’s Day to your hubby and your wonderful son who learned, no doubt, to love from you as much as he learned to parent.

  23. I remember reading this post from last year, however, this year it still brought a tear to my eye. Happy Father’s Day to Francis for nurturing his well taught parenting skills so he can nurture India. What a wonderful testimoy of learning by example.

  24. You must be so proud! You have raised a good son to be a good father. This story touches the heart and I had to share it with my readers. Congratulations to you and to Francis & his family, wishing you the best life has to offer…

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