Being a dad is awesome. But, being a dad can be tough when you don't have the skills you need. Now, you may be thinking: what skills? I'm just doing the best I can...isn't that enough? Well, the good news is, it’s never too late to learn new skills to be the best dad you can be. Every child deserves a 24/7 Dad, and we want to ensure you have the 5 characteristics needed to be a 24/7 Dad.
So, let’s get started: When we say "self-awareness”, what do you think of? The Karate Kid or some fancy ninja training? Maybe, but it’s so much more meaningful than that. Let's talk...
When we say "24/7 Dad" we're talking about an involved, responsible and committed father, and self-awareness is just the beginning. We're talking about a dad who knows his role in the family. He knows what it means to be a man. He understands he is a model for his sons on how to be a good man. If he has daughters, he models what they should look for in a husband and father for their children. Basically, he has the 10 Ways To Be a Better Dad memorized.
Everything we know about being a great father is tied to one or more of the 5 main characteristics of a 24/7 Dad. In the coming months, we’ll unpack the meaning of the these characteristics in their very own Father Factor posts. The great news is that these five questions come with a guarantee: if you answer each one honestly and take action, you will become a 24/7 Dad!
To begin, let’s get familiar with the five traits of the 24/7 Dad:
1. The 24/7 Dad is Self-Aware: The 24/7 Dad is aware of himself as a man and aware of how important he is to his family.
2. The 24/7 Dad Cares For Self: The 24/7 Dad takes care of himself.
3. The 24/7 Dad Understands Fathering Skills: The 24/7 Dad knows his role in the family.
4. The 24/7 Dad Understands Parenting Skills: The 24/7 Dad nurtures his children.
5. The 24/7 Dad Understands Relationship Skills: The 24/7 Dad builds and maintains healthy relationships with his children, wife/mother of his children, other family members, friends, and community.
So back to being a self-aware dad...
A self-aware dad knows his moods, feelings and emotions; capabilities, strengths, and challenges. He is responsible for his behavior and knows his growth depends on how well he knows and accepts himself. Don’t run by this first category. Take a moment to reflect. Be honest with yourself as a man and father.
Ask yourself some questions:
- What defines me? Do I have a sense of meaning? How does being a father play into my sense of meaning?
- What is my current role in my family? What would I like it to be? What can I do to work toward that goal?
- What are my biggest personal challenges? Am I ignoring them or dealing with them? If I am dealing with them, am I handling them in a healthy way? Or am I acting in a self-defeating or self-harming way to "deal" with them? How do these choices affect my children and family?
- What are my biggest challenges in fathering? What can I do differently to be proactive and show my dedication to my children?
Another way to become self-aware is to consider how you act in your day-to-day activities. Do you know what part of the day you are likely to be most tired or annoyed? Learn to be discerning about how you treat your children during these times.
For example, if you know that by 6pm, you're tired and more likely to be annoyed because you've been at work all day and in traffic (don't ask how I know this), it's up to you to schedule at least a few moments to be calm and ready before you open the front door to your family. If you find yourself daily coming home frustrated upon entering the house, that's a red flag something needs to change in your day.
From physical health to emotional health, and everything in between, the 24/7 Dad understands he is responsible for his decisions and ultimately his actions. The 24/7 Dad also knows his ability to be with his children is affected by the choices he makes.
Consider this: with your own words, replace “I’m too busy for XYZ” with the words “I didn’t make XYZ my priority.” Hear the difference? You should. These phrases reveal two different mindsets. One is responsible and understands his role, while the other doesn't.
The 24/7 Dad asks himself: How well do I know myself?
Niel knows what being a 24/7 Dad means. He wrote about Being a 24/7 Dad recently at his blog Great Moments in Bad Parenting. Niel says:
You can read Niel's full post Being a 24/7 Dad but it sounds to me like Niel's a dad who know his role.
Wear it. Be it. Show Your 24/7 Dad Pride.
> But first, go here to buy the shirt!
All of you fine 24/7 Dad leaders > wear this unique t-shirt to show how proud you are to be a 24/7 Dad leader. Give it to dads who attend your program or as a graduation gift.
Dads, Moms, & Children > Wear this shirt to show your passion for fatherhood and inspire those around you to live as responsible fathers. Or, give as a gift to a dad you know.
Question > What's being a 24/7 Dad mean to you?