Tuesday, September 15, 2020

I Wasn't Always a "Great" Dad, But Have Always Loved My Kids Greatly!

I wasn't always a great Dad. I believe that fathers who are truly honest with themselves will admit that. There are days when we, as Dads, fall short. I could try and list many reasons why this may happen, but I'll refrain from doing so. Instead, I'll just say that I wasn't always a great father.

I recently read a list of what qualities a "great Dad" should have and as I read each point I recalled moments of success and moments of failure. My four children are now between the ages of 20 and 27 and I'm blessed to be a step-father to four other amazing people, ages 12 to 23. Hopefully my stepchildren view me as a decent step-dad.

No matter how hard a man tries to be a "great Dad," there are days when failure results. Eventually, my children will be parents and will certainly have days when they feel less than great at it. Here's the list of qualities that a great Dad should possess based on the article I read.

1. He’s a good disciplinarian
A good father loves his children, but he doesn’t let them get away with murder. He disapproves of his children’s misdeeds and corrects with the power of words, not fists.

2. He allows his kids to make mistakes
A good father realizes that his children are human, and that making mistakes is part of growing up -- such as spending money recklessly or getting into minor car accidents. However, he makes it clear that repeated irresponsibility won’t be tolerated.

3. He’s open-minded
A good father understands that people and tastes change over the years, and he allows his children to move with the times and not be stuck in his past.

4. He teaches his children to appreciate things
A good father never lets his children take what they have for granted. From the food on the table to a solid education, a good father will make his children see the value in everything they have. He may ask his child to get a job to help pay for a part of his first car, or take the time to illustrate how important a good education is.

5. He accepts that his kids aren’t exactly like him
Everyone is different and a father knows this well. He won’t expect his kids to live the same kind of life he does, and do the same kind of work. He also respects their values and opinions, as long as they don’t harm the family or anyone else.

6. He spends quality time with his children
A dad knows how to have fun with his kids too, taking them out to games, movies, attending important performances and games. He takes the time to listen to his kids and have a good, easy chat with them. He also makes time to help them with their homework.

7. He leads by example
A good father doesn’t subscribe to the “do as I say, not as I do” saying. He will not smoke if he doesn’t want his kids to do it, and definitely won’t drink heavily. He teaches them to deal with conflict with a family member and with others by being firm but reasonable at the same time. A good father also illustrates the importance of affection by demonstrating his love for their mother in front of them. And he won’t argue with her in their presence. In all, he lives by the values he wants his children to follow.

8. He’s supportive and loyal
Although he may be a football fanatic, if his son doesn’t share his love for the game, he accepts it. He may be loyal to his alma mater and dream of having his kid follow his legacy, but if his daughter prefers to study abroad, he’ll support her decision. He’s a safety net, the person his kids can turn to when things go wrong.

9. He challenges his kids
A father wants his children to be the best they can be, and gives them challenges that help them grow. This means giving them some liberty to face setbacks and resolve conflicts on their own.

10. He teaches his children lessons
A good father molds his kids into well-rounded members of society. He especially instructs them in proper etiquette, on being honest and keeping their word, and on being thankful. A great father knows he must sacrifice his own comfort for his fatherly duties. For instance, if he comes home from a hard day at work and catches his kids misbehaving, he’ll take the time to address the situation even though he’s tired.

11. He protects his family at all costs
As the main provider of security and necessities, a father will do whatever he can for his family. He’ll take a second job to provide for them, and he’ll put his own safety on the line to keep them out of harm’s way. This is how a father instills in his children the importance of personal sacrifice.

12. He shows unconditional love
This is the greatest quality of a good father. Even though he gets upset at his children’s faults and may lament that they did not attain what he hoped for them, a father loves his children no less for it.

While my children were growing up, I didn't succeed each and every day with all of those qualities. So, I wasn't always a "great" Dad. I can say that in addition to this list, a good Dad is not focused on raising good kids, but good adults. Any parent's child is going to spend more time in life as an adult than as a kid. A Dad's focus should be on raising good adults who are productive members of society. Along the way he needs to also teach them about the importance of faith, honesty and integrity. There are so many elements to being a good/great dad.

I did the best that I could in the situations and environments I was in while my children were growing up. I worked two jobs for several years and did what I could to allow my children to be involved in the activities they wanted to be in. I typically went overboard at Christmas and dressed in the same wardrobe until the material was worn out. I didn't spend lavishly on 'toys' that many Dads collect, I didn't have a "Man Cave" that I hid away in, and I didn't abuse my kids. I was in church with them each Sunday, was at their sporting events, and always tried to encourage them. I laughed with them, joked with them, and have countless photographs of special times with them.

No, I wasn't always a "great" Dad, but I've always loved my kids greatly.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso