Tony Dungy and I first met in 1997, a year after he became head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Since that time, he and I have worked side-by-side helping men to be the best fathers they can be through our All Pro Dad program.
Recently, Tony and I were sitting in my office talking about fatherhood. During our conversation, we talked about the importance of fathers modeling courage to their children. I asked Tony, “What is courage?” “Courage is the ability to do the right thing, all the time, no matter how painful or uncomfortable it might be,” Tony said to me in his convincing way. “It takes courage to discipline at the right time and in the right way. It takes courage to say ‘no’. It takes courage to go against the grain and say, ‘You know what, I know everybody else allows their kids to watch these television programs, or dress like that, but I’m not going to allow it.’ It takes courage to stand up for your convictions.”
I agree with Tony and I would add that it takes courage for a father to:
- Create boundaries for your kids
- Discipline your children and apply appropriate consequences when they go outside those boundaries
- Control technology, monitor electronics and establish clear guidelines for what types of TV shows and movies they are allowed to watch and the music they can listen to
- Talk to your children about sex
- Require your children to work
- Be a parent, not a buddy
- Ask for forgiveness when you are wrong and forgive your child when they have done something wrong
In the movie, Courageous, (now on DVD), five men take different roads toward their goal of being a “courageous” dad. View it with your wife or older children and see the results of their individual journeys.
What other things would you add to this list that a courageous father must do?