10 Key Qualities of a #1 Dad
As the old saying goes, not every father can be a dad. Because being a daddy requires that you be a real man. The dad is a pillar upon which the child learns. He is the source of strength, inspiration, love, and discipline for his family. He makes all the difference in the life of his children.
Sometimes the work of the #1 dad is endless. He usually does it in demanding and thankless circumstances. But, at the end of it all, he has well-adjusted children to show for it. Such an outcome is the joy of any well-meaning father.
As this year’s Fathers’ Day fast approaches, many grateful children and friends will take time to appreciate the good work of fathers. Many of us will take this time to admire the impact of the #1 dad in our lives. As we do so, it is equally important that each of us takes stock of our qualities as a great dad – whether we already have children or not.
Dad's Love is Unconditional
A great father loves his children. So he guides them and gently corrects them when they go wrong. Therefore, he uses words of wisdom – and not violence – to admonish them. In the same manner, he rewards them based on merit.
A great dad will not shower their son or daughter with gifts for doing the obvious. Instead, he sets standards and guides the child to abide by them. As he will not condone any tendencies towards irresponsibility.
By doing so, the father sends a very clear message to the child. And thus, the child will understand that they are supposed to be responsible. The child will have received precious lessons on things that matter in life.
There will be no grey areas in their mind when they make decisions regarding money, drugs, dating and sexual relations. The child grows with the full knowledge that actions have consequences.
In all this, the #1 dad acts with the understanding that a child is fallible. Because, his children are human beings and make mistakes as they grow up. Just like everybody else.
So, what would make you the #1 dad to your friends and family? Here are 10 key tips:
1. Lead by Example
Remember the old credo - 'do as I say, not as I do'? Well, a good dad is above that. Instead, he will be more of a 'do as I do' father. He will not display nasty acts of violence if he does not want his children to follow suit. In addition, he will not drink irresponsibly and expect his children to be different. Also, neither will he smoke in their presence. Remember, growing children learn more by what they see, not what they are told.
The #1 dad acts as a fountain of knowledge for his growing children. He teaches them the ways of the world. He shows them how to avoid unnecessary conflict without appearing weak. And he also shows them how to be calm, firm and reasonable in the face of hostility.
He will demonstrate the value of affection by being affectionate with their mother. In short, he will live by the values he would like his children to emulate.
As the father figure, your kids will be looking up to you to learn how to be responsible in the society. You should, therefore, make it a priority to give them instructions on life skills. Instruct them on proper etiquette, thankfulness, trustworthiness, and honesty. Doing all this calls for sacrifice. Sometimes you have to go out of your way even when you are very tied to attend to these needs.
2. Be of Impeachable Character
Great dads are grounded on integrity. They never compromise their morals in the presence of their children. They understand the line between good and evil and know how to behave when confronted with either. Such dads live for a cause that is beyond themselves. They are selfless, righteous and make decisions based on a higher calling.
As a great dad, do not lash out at your child in anger. Avoid using profanity. Do not compromise your principles when you do not have money at home, yet you are in charge of company coffers. Do not be tempted to indulge in promiscuous behavior. In other words, choose a path that you would recommend for your child when confronted with temptations. Have a strong moral compass that will shape your decision whenever such scenarios occur.
3. Assure Your Family of Their Security
A good father puts the security of his family at the forefront, no matter what. The father ensures that his children are physically safe, psychologically and intellectually secure. He provides for their physical necessities like food, shelter, clothing, education, medication, etc. He takes measures to secure them from external aggression. Most importantly, he is ready to lay his life to protect them when they are in danger.
You may get upset, repeatedly, by some of the actions of your children. Do not love them any less because of that. You need to show them, unconditional love. It is in this manner that the children will develop a sense of emotional and psychological stability. They will grow into reliable adults who understand the importance of personal sacrifice.
4. Teach Your Children How to Appreciate
A great father teaches their children never to take their good fortunes for granted. The children need to understand that they should never take even basic things like food, shelter, and clothing for granted. A good father helps them to see the value and appreciate all these common things.
As a #1 dad, encourage your children to value work. Let them help around the house/compound every now and then. In this way, they will come to appreciate what the family owns and learn how to take care of them. Also, this will extend this concept to the community when they grow older. They will grow into dependable adults.
Coach your grown-up children to be responsible for some of their expenses. For example, you can encourage your child to take a job to help finance part of his/her first car. This will teach them important values that they will need in their lives.
5. Share House Responsibilities Your Wife
This is a tough one for many men. However, it counts very much in the eyes of your children. Ask to assist in some areas of the house. You can pick on what you need to do, or communicate with your wife to help out on some chores based on your strengths.
For example, you can take up the responsibility of preparing breakfast on some days. Choose the days when you do not have to leave early for work. Get up with mom at night to feed the little baby. Do something outside the garage, like mowing the lawn or feeding the pets.
Sharing in household chores will help you achieve three goals. One, it will endear you more to your wife and children. This creates a more stable family. Two, it brings you closer to what is happening on the home front.
As such, you will be more in touch with your family. Third, you give your children practical lessons on the power of teamwork. They will treasure this as they grow, and are likely to apply the same to their own future families.
6. Be Supportive and Loyal
Loyalty refers to the ability to keep your family intact through the most severe of challenges. It means being committed to your choices and principles, irrespective of the costs. A great father remains one who can be counted on by his family at all times. The family is certain that he will stand up for them in case of an attack. They know he will be there when circumstances change and their fortunes revert. This is not an easy thing, and only a #1 dad can accomplish it.
Loyalty to your family goes beyond being physically present. It means that you are consistent with your assurance and that you will stick to your loved ones through thick and thin. To achieve this, you have to put your family above everything else. You will be the one person your children choose to turn to when their person storms hit.
7. Give Empathy, Affection and Quality Time to Your Children
Purpose to spend quality time with your children. Have fun with them at the movies, sports arenas, and other outdoor places. Create a rapport with them so that they can feel comfortable confiding in you. Create time to guide them in their homework on a regular basis.
All kids, regardless of age, need love. Be affectionate with them as they grow. Yes, you can tell them that you love them. But, better still, SHOW them that you do love them. The word love can be meaningless to them, especially when they are younger. Instead, kiss them, snuggle them, hug them and touch them with love. They will understand this much better.
Of course, some fathers may find this cumbersome. However, considering it is the way of the #1 dad, you need to adopt it. It is a sure way of sending a love message straight into your child’s
8. Appreciate Their Uniqueness
A great father understands that everyone has his/her unique traits. This applies to your children as well. Even though they will acquire many values and opinions from you, they will also have many that are uniquely theirs. They may not like the subjects you did in school. They may opt to take a different career path from yours. Or, they may have different opinions regarding some issues that are in the public domain. Respect and support their point of view.
Your children are bound to be influenced by trends you did not experience as a youngster. Allow them to steer in their chosen direction, as long as the path is clear of pitfalls.
9. Treat Your Child with Respect
Look back and examine how your dad raised you. Was your dad kind to you? Meaning, did he treat you with respect? Did he instill values in you? Also, did you feel encouraged by him? And, do you like the way he approached issues to do with discipline? So, did he mold you into the person you are today? Was he loving and caring? If the answer to these questions is in the affirmative, then you need to pass all that you learned to your children.
You may not have had a great dad yourself. Maybe he was an absentee dad. However, use the lessons you learned as a child to make the life of your son/daughter better. Whatever the circumstances, treat them with respect. Wait until you are in private to mete out discipline. Do not criticize or ridicule in public. Provide your child with understanding, love, and affection. A great father helps to elevate their child’s self-esteem.
10. Challenge Your Children
Do not over-protect your children to the extent that they never get any exposure. As a father, let them face the challenges that will make them stronger as human beings. Encourage them to make decisions that will build them. Allow them to suffer the kind of setbacks that will help them learn the values of fortitude and temperance. If you want the best for your children, do not hand them anything on a silver platter. Do not give them the fish, but teach them how to fish.
A great dad concedes some elements of control and gives some liberty. Fatherhood is not about being domineering. Allow the members of your family to make decisions regarding aspects of their lives. For example, if your wife opts to pursue her career, let her do so. Concede your desire to be the sole breadwinner.
Similarly, if any of your children opt for their career path instead of what you had suggested, encourage them to do so. Embrace the unity that exists in the diversity within your family.
Being the #1 dad calls for sacrifice, but the rewards are priceless. You are automatically your children’s hero. Every little thing that you do for them has a lasting impact. Their minds are impressionable and they will want to be just like you. So, go ahead and do your best!
Show Your Appreciation
As the Fathers’ Day approaches, could you be wondering how to show your appreciation to your very own #1 dad? Your dad nurtured you to be the person you are, and it is very thoughtful of you to think of him. There are many ways to go about thanking him on this day (or any other day for that matter!). For example:
i. Purpose to live as he taught you how
ii. Spend time with him.
iii. Ask him out to a concert/movie/ museum other outing
iv. Take him on safari to Africa
v. Buy him a gift (i.e., our #1 Dad Mug, bold #1 Dad Shirt, statement #1 Dad Hat, or #1 Dad Apron, CLICK HERE)
vi. Donate a gift to his favorite charity
There is nothing that is as good as saying "Thank You" to a dad, past or present, whom you fondly think of. Plan to do this even as you nurture your own family. Or even as you plan to start one.