When my wife and I married we set a plan to not open the baby factory for five years – that was four years ago this August. So fatherhood has been on my mind.
Growing up I considered myself lucky that everything seemed to come in pairs for me. I had two moms and two dads, two brothers and two sisters, two cats and two dogs. Yes, we had one of those family dynamics (I think about 50% of all North Americans can relate with me here).
But I also remember yearning – and in many ways I still yearn – for that close fatherly figure to take me under his wing, playfully rough up my hair, tell me he’s proud of me and then teach me how to put a desk together.
I believe fatherhood is immensely important. I’ve watched closely father’s who have been successful at parenting and father’s who have not, and I have over the years compiled a mental list of qualities that make up a good one. Here are a few of the things near the top of that list:
- A father prepares his son to respect women by loving his mother in a way that respects and honours her.
- A father prepares his daughter to find a good man by treating her as a precious woman of great value.
- A father invests time into his children. Taking the time to listen to them and to engage them, to counsel them, play with them and at every opportunity, to prepare them for life.
- A father disciplines because he loves and because he cares. He has a heavy hand when necessary, but more often that hand is used to wipe away tears from their eyes.
- A father handles money appropriately and honourably, explaining to his children at the proper time why and how he makes the financial decisions that he does.
- A father leads the family with quite strength and the utmost integrity, never faltering to put his family before himself.
- A father understands when his children make mistakes, he loves them and helps them through tough times. He wisely does not always bail them out, but he endures their consequences with them, and lets them know he’s there.
- Can you think of something from your experience to add to this list?… (leave a comment!)