Here’s something to put on your wall at work or your bathroom, where you will see it every day. A reminder of the important things in life, as a father.
Most of us men are good people, but too many of us are not as adept at being good fathers. The difference lies in everyday life and our priorities. Some men are intentional about placing a career ahead of ‘Dadhood’. Many more of us do the same thing, but we do it subconsciously. When your children grow up, they will most likely think of you with love--but will they have your respect? We must occasionally stop, look, and listen to our children and our role as their father.
Some Things to Ponder:
- When you’ve been in the office for 60 hours this week, don’t forget you’re a father.
- When your buddies want you to stop by after work for a drink, do it, maybe. But don’t forget you are a father.
- When you are watching the ballgame, and your child asks you a question, remember, you are a father.
- When you are trying to catch up with maintaining your house, and your young son wants to ‘help’, don’t forget you are his father.
- When your daughter asks you to take her to the mall, take her. But ask a lot of questions and place limitations first. Remember, you’re her father.
- When your child needs a hug, or a smile, or a stare-down, remember, you’re their father.
- When a dance recital is scheduled during the Master’s tournament, remember to record it. The Masters--not the dance recital! After all, you are a father.
- When you don’t live with your children, at least live for your children. After all, you are their father and they need you.
- Never forget to be around for the milestones. Is work really more important than the first day of school? Maybe so, around .1 percent of the time!
- Never forget to discipline your kids when they need it. Be firm but do not yell or shake!
- Never forget to ask them how they are doing, at school, with friends, with their siblings, etc. Talk with them--not at them.
- Never forget to be respectful to their mother and to be a partner to her, especially for your kids’ needs.
- Never forget that neither you, nor your children are perfect. Be patient.
- Never forget that they are not you. Let them be the person they are, but guide them as their father.
Many of these reminders are reminders your kids may want you to ignore, like disciplining or asking too many questions of them. They want you to ignore those actions for that moment, but they want you to be interested enough to be concerned for them and to mold them.
Understand that you don’t fail as a father if you don’t comply with these reminders 100 percent of the time. It’s the attitude you have as a dad, not 24/7 perfection. For instance, if it were the ninth inning of the World Series and my daughter asked me to do something with her, I would say, “Okay, but wait until this game is over.” You can explain later why you asked her to wait, if necessary.
As long as you are aware that you are a father, never feel guilty about time to yourself! You need it! You deserve it! And you will definitely be a better father for it! Just carefully balance your children’s need with yours.
For a further look into your role as a dad, see my “Dads Self-Inspection Checklist”. It will help you to decide where and if you may need to improve your fatherly skills.