20 Things a Great Father should do

Having had some early struggles in becoming a father I think I’ve been able to appreciate having children more than most fathers do. Only when you go through a battle do you really cherish the reward.

I base this not only on personal observation but also from news reports from all over the world. How many times do we hear about absent fathers when a kid gets in trouble? Or about fathers who inadvertently forget about their children when they separate or divorce their spouse.

Regardless of life and career accomplishments a father might have, the only thing that matters is what kind of father and person he is. We should embrace the opportunity to be great fathers. It is a way of passing down our legacy to our children.

These are my own Top 20 things to do to show you’re a great father; I’m sure other fathers have their own things they do to make them stand out as great fathers.

  1. Be kind, always Seriously why wouldn’t you. Wouldn’t you rather they remember you for your kindness instead of that one time you were mean to them? Because they’ll remember the mean one way longer than you think.
  2. Be patient They’re little, they’re growing and sometimes they don’t know how to do things. Be gentle with them and give them a helping hand instead of losing your cool. Losing your cool is not good for anyone, especially not for someone who’s counting on you for help.
  3. Show affection Why not hug them and hold them close. It feels great to do this. And not just for them but for you too.
  4. Provide a sense of security Have a stable home life; have a stable job. Providing them security is one less thing for them to worry about in their little heads.
  5. Be dependable Always, always try to do what you say you will do. They’ll remember if you don’t. If you don’t think you can do something then don’t promise.
  6. Show up and be there Attend their activities even if they’re not doing something you like. Just being there will make them feel better.
  7. Be supportive When they want to do something you don’t agree with put yourself in their shoes and think of what your own parents would’ve said or done. If this elicits a bad experience then don’t do the same to them.
  8. Discipline them Yes, kids will do things that will earn them a timeout. When issues come up make sure you explain why they’re being disciplined. Don’t just say “Because I said so!” Make sure you do this with love and not any other motive.
  9. Make them laugh Be spontaneous and say something funny or silly. It’s okay to act up every once in a while. It’s just you and them and no one is watching.
  10. Be the role model You have no choice in this one. What you say and do will shape their minds. Be the best role model you can be and someday you will see the results and will be very proud.
  11. Greet them with a smile Kids notice human behavior and body language more than we realize. They don’t care if we’ve had a bad day at work, or that we got into an argument with someone. They just want to feel your love and there’s no better way to show them than to always greet them with a smile.
  12. Do the little things Even if it’s just spending time watching TV with them or sitting at the dinner table. Offer to help them with their homework; or just ask them how their day was. You’d be surprised with some of the responses you’d get.
  13. Get up early and make them breakfast Food is always a good way to bond with kids. There’s nothing better than to share some time in the kitchen and let them help make something for all to share. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant; anything they like  will do.
  14. Read with them Not only should you read to your children, but you should also allow them to read to you too. If they’re too young to read get an animal picture book and make animal sounds with them. They’ll get a kick out of that and will show them you’re comfortable being with them.
  15. Take them places Why not ask them to go with you when you run errands or when you need to go to the grocery store. The time you spend together in the car can be very valuable.
  16. Be a good husband; respect their mother Children need to know there’s stability in the home and how you and your spouse interact around the house will have a major impact on their lives. A son will learn how to treat women by how a father treats his wife.
  17. Know when to say no There will come a time when a request can be granted but saying no will be more important than giving them whatever it is they want.
  18. Don’t ever yell at your child, ever We are not Neanderthals guys; we don’t need to rant and rave. If you ever lose your composure and yell at your kids they have already won the fight because they’ll know what it takes to get under your skin.
  19. Listen to what they need Kids will usually verbalize what they want so this one on the surface doesn’t appear important. But it’s important to have a feel for your children so that you know what they might not be telling you.
  20. Love them with all of your heart Why wouldn’t you love them with all of your heart. After all, they made you who you are and have given you the greatest love in life. Your children will always love you no matter what and you should do the same.

That’s it! That’s my list. Very simple and not difficult to do at all. But if you do have trouble with one of the items on this list don’t give up and say you can’t do it. Just improvise and come up with your own alternative. The important thing to know is that we are heroes and sometimes even idols to our children and we should act accordingly.

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The Miracle of Being a Father

We know the old saying about how if things come easy they’re not worth having or how good things are worth waiting for. This is my story about having children late in life when I didn’t think it might happen.

During my first marriage back in the early ’80s, my wife and I tried often to have children. Being unsuccessful after about five years of trying, I decided to take the first step and seek the help of a specialist.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, this was probably the biggest mistake I would make in my life. You see, after testing was complete and the doctor had the results, the doctor came to the conclusion that I would never be able to father any children.

As devastated as I was to hear this, I remember walking through a long hallway, walking towards the exit of the building and thinking to myself, “Well, if God wants me to have children, I’m going to have children someday.”

I actually didn’t dwell on this too much after that day, and I can’t really explain why. For someone who loves and enjoys children so much I really wanted to have children. But I really didn’t let it bother me.

But for now I had to go home and report the news to my wife, already knowing what her reaction would be. Needless to say, this, and other reasons, would mean an end to our marriage. My wife had previously told me she didn’t want to adopt, and didn’t want to go through an alternative way of conceiving. And I didn’t want to push this anymore.

We were both still in our mid 20’s. We separated without telling anyone. We had been everyone’s perfect couple, childhood sweethearts, together since the age of sixteen. I know it broke our family’s heart knowing that we were no longer going to be together, especially her mother and younger brothers and sisters too. To this day I still see them the same as always and their kids still call me uncle and I still call them my nieces and nephews. It was an awful feeling not to be part of their daily lives anymore.

Having moved out of town to move closer to my mother and siblings in a different state, I lost touch with my ex-wife until about seven years later when I returned to our hometown to attend a friend’s funeral.

At the funeral service I saw my ex-wife’s best friend from high school, and learned from her that my ex had remarried and had two daughters.

When she told me this, the first thing that popped into my mind was that the infertility specialist had been correct in his assessment and that it was my fault my wife hadn’t been able to get pregnant.

So now about fifteen years after first getting married, and wanting to have children, I was married again, actually married a women with two beautiful children.

I remember when we were first getting to know each other one of the questions I had been wanting to ask her was if she already had children. At this point in my life I didn’t want to marry a woman who hadn’t already experienced childbirth for fear of going through what I went through with my first wife. I didn’t want to put myself in that position again, and didn’t want to put another woman through the agony of not being able to conceive. At least that’s how I felt.

So thinking back to what I said to myself walking out of the doctor’s office that dreadful day many years ago, I thanked God for finally allowing me to have children. And I promised God I would always strive to be the best step-father I could, and to treat both children as if He himself had delivered them to me.

And now as I sit in a hospital room watching over my youngest son, who’s now 16 years old, and who came down with pneumonia yesterday, I again thank God for giving me another miracle and proving the specialist wrong.

Oh yeah, and my wife was again pregnant about a year later, this time with a beautiful baby girl.

When the youngest son was about 10 or 11 years old I remember him asking me why I had named him after me. At that time I felt he was too young to understand, but I may be getting closer to telling him the whole story now.

One thing I want to tell him, right or wrong, is that I had already made up my mind that if God allowed me to have a son I was going to name him after me. I’ll tell him that after all I went through, with the emotional trauma of losing my first wife, and living all of those years not knowing whether I’d ever have children, I wanted the privilege of passing my name down to him. I hope he would understand.