Dad Fears and Insecurities


What should dads do when they feel like they're not measuring up?

I made a list of my insecurities—Dad ones. For two weeks, I wrote them down as they popped into my head. Here’s a sample:

  • I don’t take my kids outside enough
  • The other guys do all of this spiritual stuff. What do I do?
  • Those kids already ride bicycles. My son doesn’t even ride a tricycle yet!
  • Do we give him the same breakfast every day? He’s going to stay three feet tall!

I know, you’re probably thinking, “He’s afraid?! Seriously? He’s a man!”

Exactly! I eat meat. I throw balls around. I use power tools and have roles like “provider” and “protector.” I don’t have time for fears…Well, until I’m alone. Or really, until I read Dad Matters.

Every day I read encouraging, great advice from other dads about leading their family or becoming more like Jesus. Great stuff! Until I look in the mirror.

What I See - And What I See In Me

I read things like:

Today my son and I read the entire New Testament, then I presented him with a plaque of God’s Promises that I hand-etched in marble.

(Meanwhile, I wrestled with my three year old, and we read from a Bible in which every illustration has Jesus holding a bunny.)

We went on a seven mile hike, then sat and discussed what being a man means.

and this one . . . 

We flew home on gas-powered hang gliders and landed in the fort we built together.

(Let’s see. Today, I chased my son around with a stuffed fish making funny gurgling noises. I think a NASCAR race was on.)

  • I don’t camp or fish or hunt. What am I going to teach my sons?
  • Are we too lenient? Too strict?
  • Does the baby even look like me?
  • Am I spending enough time with my kids?
  • I swear his teeth are going to fall out. I have to do better at teaching him to brush.

Fellow blogger Rich Bennett recently had a great post about how his family encourages each other during dinner.

I think, “Wow, that’s cool.” Then, I feel inadequate.

Am I Doing Okay?

Okay, my wife and I have a three-year old and a nine-month old. My teaching and “Daddy times” are going to be different. I read books, talk to other dads, discuss parenting with my wife (good idea) and pray for guidance and wisdom. But still, the list …

  • Is he getting too old for stuffed animals?
  • I need to be doing a bigger variety of activities with my kids.
  • The baby spends too much time alone. I don’t play with him enough.
  • Am I intentional enough about weaving God into every day?
  • We don’t wash their hands enough.
  • Is Brendan drinking enough?

Basically, are we handling _____________________ (insert just about anything) right?

The Race is On

So, I guess I’m a failure. A lowly Worm-Dad.

Well, my list got me thinking, and maybe you’re thinking, too. What should I, or other dads, do when they feel like we’re not measuring up?

Sure, I can learn from other dads. I can keep praying, growing, being intentional about being a dad, and always be striving to be who God would have me to be.

But, perhaps, the best advice I can give myself is, what I know I’ll tell my son the first time he is burdened about not being the fastest, smartest, strongest (or any other “est”) kid:

I’ll tell him that he is made unique. He has his own talents, gifts and abilities that make him shine. They may look different than other kids, but we all have a perfect purpose. I’ll tell him to not worry about how fast everyone else is running—but to run his own race and run it with excellence.

“…let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1

And then, maybe, I’ll chase him with a stuffed fish while making a funny gurgling sound—because that’s part of who I am. Time to throw away the list.

Written by Patrick Dunn

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