Okay, so maybe the title is misleading. This post is for dads and that title assumes that 1. You love your kids. 2. You have a relationship with your kids. 3. You support and care for your kids. Now don’t get on your high horse claiming you support and care for your kids, when reality is you spend no time with them. These days, people seem to think that if a man provides his family with food and shelter (and doesn’t hurt them), then he’s a good dad. Possums provide their children with food and shelter! Is that really the bar we’ve set for fatherhood?! Do better, dads.
There is a saying, “Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.” A father can be someone who shares DNA with a child yet takes no responsibility in that child’s growth and development. But the term Dad displays a sense of familiarity and affection. A dad is someone who actively participates in the child’s growth. This list is 10 things that all dads should know. Okay, now that we have that straight…
1. We love you for who you are, not what you do. This applies from the time we meet you until the time we say goodbye. We love you. And it’s not because you have a great career, drive a cool car, or can do 100 push-ups. You don’t have to impress us. Our love for you is inherent in you being our dad.
2. We’d rather spend quality time with you any day then receive money or gifts. Again, you are what matter most to us. Not your money or your ability to give to us, though we always appreciate that, too. But truly, there is nothing that can replace quality time with your dad. Even if it’s only five minutes, or a walk to get the mail with you- we cherish every second.
3. We follow your actions, not your words. You can tell us all day what’s wrong and what’s right, do this, not that. But at the end of the day, it’s your behavior that we watch, listen to, and repeat. The most effective teaching happens when you explain to us what we are already observing in your life.
4. How you treat our mom, defines for us how we want to be treated. John Wooden is famous for saying, “The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” It’s true. We watch you interact with her and we learn what a loving relationship looks like, whether you are a good example of one or not. For daughters especially, we learn how we are to be treated by men in our future while watching how you treat our mom. Love our mother well, and we won’t settle for anything less in our own lives.
5. We compare all men to you. Yes, even future husbands. We look at potential dates and see how they measure up to you. You set the standard. Remember this as we grow up. Your life ought to be a reflection of the kind of man you want us to one day marry. No pressure though.
6. We need you. That’s right. Even when we’re “all grown up” (is anyone ever really all grown up?) the need for dad never fades. Your advice, love, protection, guidance… The list goes on and on. Never forget how much you are needed.
7. We love your approval. You are our hero, remember? There’s nothing like having the one you look up to most shine approval and appreciation down upon you. You might as well be showering us with gold. Be generous in your praise with us, as we so often are with you. It gives us confidence, so we can go out into the world and be great. Believing in us is the greatest gift you can offer.
8. We think you’re a good singer, dancer, and the funniest comedian we know. If you ever are looking for a career change, don’t ask us for counsel. We’ll have loads of encouragement but likely won’t have an answer. You’re just too good at too many things. The options are limitless…
9. We think you know all and believe everything you say. You could tell us that Big Foot lives in the bushes behind your house and that you’re friends with him…and we’d believe it. Simply because it came from your mouth. You’re a walking dictionary, history book, encyclopedia, and life manual all built into one. How you acquired all this knowledge, we’ll never know. And chances are, we won’t ask either.
10. We can’t live with you forever. Perhaps the hardest part of being a dad is that you eventually have to let your children go. But to do so gracefully, is the accomplishment of a lifetime. Some parents hold on to their kids so tight that they forget the very purpose of parenting is to let them go. You are given kids so that you can prepare them for their mission. Think of us like parachutes that you’ve spent your life packing. After all, what is the purpose of a parachute, if not to one day let it fly?