While we were on vacation this past weekend Father’s Day was celebrated. Fatherhood is amazing and it’s the most important and rewarding thing I’ve ever done. In this week’s post I am going to share three things about fatherhood that I’ve learned which I think are essential.
As a father it is first and foremost important that dads understand they are a role model. I always think about the Rodney Atkins song, “I’m Watching You” when I think about being a role model for my son. In the song, the father talks about what it’s like to have a son that watches and follows your every move. I am extremely fortunate to have my father and grandfather as tremendous role models for how I should be as a husband and father. As fathers we need to remember that our children are watching our every move and listening to our every word. We must choose our actions and words wisely, especially when they are directed to our children. I’m not perfect and there are things I’ve done and said that I wish I could take back, but I always try to learn and be better from my mistakes. And in the end that’s all we can do: learn, love, and do our best.
The second and most important thing I’ve learned about being a father is that the best thing we can do for our children is to love their mothers. I remember always seeing a small frame in my parent’s bathroom that read, “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” This is something that I’ve always remembered and hopefully my actions support it. As role models, fathers need to model love in their home. It’s no secret (and statistics support) that children from a fatherless home face more obstacles and are generally less successful than children who come from a home with the father present. This is especially true for young men. Children need fathers in the home and they need to see and know that dad loves mom. This is hard to articulate, but it is essential. My father has always been a loving parent to my sisters and me, and has also always modeled what love is towards my mother.
Lastly, fatherhood is about being present. It is easy to bring work home and be distracted while at home. Our children need our full, undivided attention while we are home. They want our presence. Too often fathers think kids want presents and that our presence doesn’t really matter. You can’t buy love, time, and relationships. Dads, always remember that our kids want our presence, not presents.
To wrap it up and illustrate the last point I want to share a story I recently came across. One night after dinner a son went up to his father and asked him how much he made an hour. The father was reluctant to tell him but told him $100 an hour. The son then asked his father for $50. The father was angered his son was asking for this much money and thought he was just being a selfish, spoiled brat, so he sent him to his room. After cooling down and reflecting, the father felt really bad and thought that it must be for something important if his son was asking for it. So the father went to the son’s room, told him he was sorry, and gave him the $50. He saw his son already had some money in his room and asked why he wanted the money. The son told his dad that he had saved up $50 and now with his dad’s money he had enough. He told his dad he now had $100 and asked if he could buy and hour of his dad’s time. He asked if his father could come home early tomorrow to play with him and have dinner. The father was crushed.
We must remember that our time is the most precious gift we can give, especially to our children. Work can wait. We can make it up, but we cannot get lost time back.
Happy belated Father’s Day to all the dads out there!
Next week’s post will hit on things I learned & reflected about while on vacation this past week.
Thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!