I was thinking about what rules a great dads should live by. While you may not agree with every rule I think important, perhaps you might agree with some; and perhaps you have a few others you live by that I have overlooked. After all, I haven’t raised a lot of children, or even some. Just one. And she’s just 1.5 years old. And like you, I don’t practice anything perfectly, but can’t we all take comfort in saying we do practice! I feel that is half the battle. So here are a few main rules I feel great dads should try to live by:
Point Children To Their Heavenly Father
In my estimation a great father is one that patterns himself after his heavenly father, and always points children to Him for answers to life’s little and big problems, including lost toys, and problems with other siblings. If they learn to trust Him in their youth and teens, they will likely trust Him as they grow older.
Love First And Always
This is one of the hardest things to practice but the most rewarding when practiced well. An example of how I try to apply this is to always give my attention to my daughter when she asks for it; always! We only have our children in our homes for 18 or so years, and how many times in those years will our children come up to us for attention is dependent on not brushing those early requests aside. They form the basis of a loving and concerned relationship.
Sacrifice Personal Things And Time
We are all inherently selfish, oriented towards self fulfillment, so it takes a well trained eye and iron will to see cries for attention (which they deserve) and the will to set personal things aside, and continue to push personal things aside, for the long term benefit of the children and family.
Be Affectionate and Gentle
I feel I was blessed by two great early male influences in my life, my father and my grandfather. Both contributed many attributes to my character, attributes maturity of mind and experience has validated as important to life and family success. Among the most important attributes is affection and gentleness. I firmly believe that affection and gentleness are core requirements for good dads to become great dads.
Be Firm When Required
Conversely, I believe dads need to be firm. But, if the love and affection and gentleness is there, coupled with teaching, the need to be firm will comprise a fraction of effort in comparison. Children are children. They have minds that are empty from birth and filled thereafter. Perhaps it is just me, but it is utter nonsense to take orders from children. I believe for the most part, until the mind matures, they need to be told what to do, in love, and in concern, for their long term welfare, until they are ready to make decisions for themselves. But a great dad should teach first how to make good decisions! And that means not letting them run you around by the nose.
Work Hard To Provide
We live in a two income world in many ways, but my wife and I have worked as a team to make our life a one income world. It took some big sacrifices, but we have also been blessed by some big family help and support along the way. For some, a one income family is a dream that may never come to fruition. Whatever the case, it is important for dad to work hard to set an example as a provider. This teaches children to be dependent and thankful, if they are taught to view it that way and not left to take it for granted or given everything on a silver platter.