Be A Dad: Tip 10 - Realize that a Father's Job is Never Done
Even after your baby has grown up and left home, if you’ve done your job well, she will still look to you for wisdom and advice. Fathers play an essential part in the lives of their children as they become adults and build their own families. You, dad, are creating a legacy for future generations. (Taken from NFI’s best-selling brochure, 10 Ways to Be a Better Dad.)
Tips for Building a Legacy with Adult Children
- Keep being there: Yes, your kids are going to grow up, leave home, and make their own decisions. You won’t be there for every small or big moment. But, you still have an important role to play in your children’s lives. Be there for them by supporting them in their decisions, by giving advice when they ask for it, and by continuing to affirm your love for them, even if their decisions are not the same as you would have done. Be there physically as much as possible by visiting and calling on the phone.
- Be there for their kids: One of the best parts of being a father is becoming a grandfather. Just as you were an important role model and teacher to your children, your grandkids will also benefit from the affirmation, support, and example you offer. Your child is, of course, the parent and might make some parenting decisions that you disagree with, but even if that happens, your grandkids still need you to be involved in their lives, at least as much as possible.
- Share your life experiences: Just because your children are adults doesn’t mean they know everything all of a sudden. You can help them avoid some of the hard knocks you’ve been through by sharing your life experiences so they are more informed of possible consequences as they make decisions. Use your best judgment based on your relationship to decide whether you should wait for them to ask for advice or be forthright in sharing. Of course, if their course of action is clearly detrimental, you may need to intervene without waiting to be asked.
- Take care of yourself physically right now: NFI President Roland Warren says “If you want to be an involved, responsible, and committed father, you have to be alive.” Even if you’re in great health physically, take care of yourself so you are able to continue to be involved in your kids’ lives as they grow up. Make sure you get regular medical exams, eat healthy, and exercise.
- Take time to be a dad: President Barack Obama released a Public Service Announcement with a message to dads saying, “The smallest moments can have the biggest impact in a child’s life. Take time to be a dad today.” This is true at any age of a child’s life. Pick up the phone to catch up with your daughter at college. Write your son a note to tell him you’re proud of his promotion at work. Babysit the grandkids for the weekend so your child and his/her spouse can go on an anniversary trip. Even small gestures of your love and support can make a big difference in your adult child’s life. Take time to be a dad – no matter how old your child is.