My 3 Fathering Secrets
What are your secrets for being a good dad?
When I think about that question, my first thoughts go to our research about Championship Fathering here at National Center for Fathering, which identified the fundamentals of Loving, Coaching, and Modeling. Every dad should seek to find ways to live those out with their children.
At the same time, each father is unique. We all have different personalities, backgrounds and situations, and it makes sense that every man will find some unique ways to live out his fathering commitment. And when I look at my own fathering, these are three of my “secrets”:
First, gain perspective from the past. I’m privileged that I had a wonderful dad. I wouldn’t be where I am without his influence. He wasn’t perfect, of course. But sometimes I shed tears thinking about the heritage I have and what a blessing it has been for me and my family. I feel a responsibility and a calling to continue that positive legacy for my children and grandchildren.
Now, if you have not received a great heritage, that’s a big challenge, but one you can overcome. As you consider the past, your focus should be on how you can break any damaging cycles and begin a fresh legacy of love, involvement, and commitment.
My second simple reminder is to be engaged in your children’s lives. Our main goal as men should not be earning a high salary, though there’s nothing wrong with that. We shouldn’t be about pursuing lofty titles—nothing inherently wrong with that either. But connecting with our kids is a higher calling: to know who they are and help them discover their gifts and talents. To look your children in the eye, speak into their lives, make them feel special, and tell them how much you love them.
And then, third, be excited about being a dad. Fatherhood should never be boring. I’ve mentioned that sometimes my kids call me “El Nerdo.” They’ll say, “Look how high he pulls up his pants!” and all of that. Sure, I’m old school, but I play along and have fun with it. Dads, we have to let our kids know that we can be excited and laugh and enjoy life. Let’s relish every opportunity we have to connect with our kids. Life is too short—and our fathering years are too short—to do it any other way.
Is this challenging sometimes? Yes. Are there difficulties? Sure there are. As I always say, there are no perfect dads. But our kids don’t need perfect. They just need us to be real and to do our best. They need us to say we’re sorry when we fall short, keep loving them no matter what, and stay in the game for the long haul.
Okay, those are three of my top “secrets.” What are yours? What principles or pieces of wisdom really resonate with you as a father?
•Is there something unique you do with a child that’s “our thing”? Make sure you’re doing it regularly.
•Smile and make crazy, joy-filled faces for your child to imitate.
Written by Carey Casey
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