“Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance.” -Ruth E. Renkel
There is not one single path to successful parenting. All fathers are not created equal in method nor in standards. What sets a successful father apart from the pack is a passion for his duty and the ability to love unconditionally. Possession of those two traits is the common denominator in all successful parents. The following list can be considered the ‘greatest hits’ of an awesome dad.
1. Real Communication
Talking is the most valuable tool in a father’s belt. Conversation is information and information is understanding. Serious, funny, or totally random. Every conversation had with your child is invaluable to you as a parent. Know your child better than they know themselves. Then tailor your guidance toward that knowledge.
2. Respect And Love Your Wife
“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” -Rev. Theodore Hesburgh
Your son will grow up one day to treat a woman the same way his father treated women. Your daughter will grow to expect the treatment that was provided in Dad’s example. This country has an epidemic of disrespectful young men and young women with low self-esteem. We are daily bombarded with examples of male prowess and female promiscuity. That’s no accident. We have a duty to stand and fight this battle against good family principles. That starts by always showing your wife the love and respect she deserves.
3. The Bedtime Story
Every time you read to your child, it’s an intimate and special moment. They have your full attention, and that’s the thing they crave most. Daddy adds the funny voices and physical animations as he reads. Your daughter’s eyes light up and a smile takes over her face as you talk in your moose voice and put pretend antlers on your head. Silliness is something you both enjoy and understand, but more importantly, this time together builds trust and makes your child feel secure.
4. The Guard Dog
Speaking of security, children crave it like you crave that Kit-Kat™ you have tucked away in your desk. A successful father has children who know that Dad will always be there to protect them—no matter what. He’s a big, hairy, loveable guard-dog…ferocious when required, but gentle, loving, and loyal to the very end.
We are usually only as good as the company we keep. Friends are an important part of your child’s life. Chances are they spend more time in the company of their close friends than with you. That is a very large amount of influence that is not under your control. It is imperative that you have a relationship with these friends. Make the effort to know them as well as their parents. Your child’s friends should be diverse and inspiring.
“Just wait until your father comes home.” What child hasn’t heard that at some point? Discipline is a responsibility that all parents experience. It’s not pretty and certainly not easy. The alternative is a spoiled and out of control child with no boundaries of behavior. There’s good news, though. A successful dad follows through on discipline enough times to gain respect from his children. They have learned from experience not to test Dad. He means exactly what he says, and they can trust him to be consistent.
7. The Good Humor Man
A great dad has fun with his kids. They joke, they laugh, they play, and they hug. No need to be a world-class comedian. To your kids, Dad, even when you’re not funny, it’s still comical. Joking around with Dad is great fun for all children. Let them. Of course, there is a level of respect that should be maintained, but other than that, let yourself be teased occasionally. They love it. They love you.
8. The Educator
Class is in session and you are the professor. Life has many lessons that will either be learned the easy way or the hard way. Dad is the voice of experience. Share your wisdom early and often with your children. Your advice will not always be followed, but it should always be given. Don’t be afraid to let your child fail. Just be there afterward to lovingly explain why the failure occurred and sow the seeds to future success.
9. Spiritual Leader
A wise father realizes that God is in control. Worship is a cornerstone in the life of a successful family. Guide them as they grow in their faith. Be the man God would have you be.
10. The Example
“My Father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived and let me watch him do it.” -Clarence Budington Kelland
Many parents make the mistake of stopping their own lives once they have children. Dedicating themselves and immersing their own hopes and dreams into the lives of their children. This is a tragic mistake for all involved. Be the example for them. Show them how to live in a positive way: with passion, desire, and joy in everything you do.