Fab Father Fridays- What makes a Dad, a GREAT Dad?

Welcome to Fab Father Fridays. I’ve met a whole bunch of average, and even poor fathers. The world is full of them (and mothers are not exempt from this mediocre equation) -but I have also had the privilege of meeting many incredible fathers, fathers who are committed and dedicated parents. The fact that you are taking a few minutes to read this (unless your wife has your earlobe jammed in a pair of pliers at the moment), tells me that you are a good Dad- a Dad who wants to do the best and be the best he can be for his kids. The best parents are not perfect, they just always strive to be better. That already makes you a Fab Father and you’re in the right place, joining other Fab Fathers on this parenting journey. Today’s post is the first in a series I will be doing- ‘What makes a Dad, a GREAT Dad?’ Every few weeks, I am privileged to spend the morning painting under an extremely talented, 72-year-old artist. This morning, as I began painting, I thought I would ask this wise man’s opinion on the question I was planning to make into a series. I said to him, “Dave, what makes a Dad great?” Without hesitation he replied, “One word- ENCOURAGEMENT. Kids need dads who show up, who show support”. Dave continued to tell me that as a boy, when he played a rugby game at school, and his father attended, he would ‘play like a demon’, not to win the game, but to impress his father, and to make his father proud. Having a Dad around is a big deal for kids, no matter their age!We often use the excuse of being too busy- too busy to watch the cricket game, too busy to attend the ballet show, too busy to help with the school projects, too busy to be a part of the fundraisers- too busy to be involved in the parts of our children’s lives which require sometimes tedious participation. Dads, when your kids know that you are taking time out of your life, to ‘show up’ and be a part of their everyday world, their self-esteem and their belief in their value as a person, EXPLODES. If you aren’t showing up for the ‘mundane events’ in your child’s life, they will perceive themselves as not being good enough for you. A child’s sense of self is significantly impacted upon by the everyday involvement of a father. A father who cares, a father who is on the sidelines, a father who is in the front row, a father who says “Well tried”, a father who says, “You did your best, I am proud”, no matter the outcome of an event. Sadly, too many fathers I know leave the everyday ‘show-ups’ to moms.A few weeks ago, I was working with a 14-year-old boy. With tears in his eyes, he said to me, “Naomi, my dad doesn’t care. I don’t think he has ever shown up at one of my sisters dancing events, and he’s never been at any of the things I have done. He buys us stuff, but he doesn’t know how to love me. He doesn’t give us time. He thinks he is my friend, but I don’t need a friend, I need a father…” I sat stunned, saddened at the profound wisdom being uttered by this teen. A hurt child, a broken child, a young man who fully understood what children need from parents, and a young man who felt the painful void of a parent who had not been there. From their mouths, not mine, Dad, children feel loved when they are given our TIME, our PRESENCE, and our ENCOURAGEMENT which we show them just by being there… Take an interest in your child’s life, in the run-of-the-mill and sometimes monotonous everyday parts too, and watch what happens… to their self-esteem, to your relationship with them, to their belief in who they are… When we show up, our children feel encouraged, they feel motivated, they feel that they are valued enough to have a place in our ‘important’, ‘busy’ adult worlds. THAT speaks volumes to them about who they are.Before you know it, it will be too late to connect with your child. The hourglass is slipping by, and we can’t steal back the sands of time…Run the preschool Comrades ‘marathon’, take your daughter to her ballet rehearsal, sit in the front row of the school play, flip hamburger patties at the fundraiser, Google information for the project, take a seat at the gala and cheer at the hockey match… All you have to do start being a great Dad, is to show up.

Have a great Fab Friday.

See you next week!
Naomi

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