Fatherhood has never been more important in our society than it is today. Despite the fact that men are playing an increasingly significant role in raising children, many myths persist about what it means to be a father. These myths – some based in fact and others not – contribute to a misguided view of the role of dads.
One of the most common myths is that a good dad has to be “there for the kids” – he must play ball with his son, take his daughter fishing, and build a strong father/daughter relationship. While these are all things that a good father should do, the most important thing a father does is be the rock that his family depends on during difficult times.
A good father protects his kids by setting clear boundaries, considering their best interests and talking to them about risks. He also instills character development by teaching his kids about the consequences of making poor choices. He is affectionate with his kids and, while he may not hug or kiss them as much as a mother does, he lets his kids know they can count on him.
He sets high expectations for his children, encourages them to aspire to their highest potential and helps them see what their future might hold. He is also a disciplinarian, but always in a safe and respectful way. He teaches his children how to handle their impulses and stay calm under stress, but never resorting to violence.
During a time when we are bombarded by news stories about the violence and destruction of extremist groups in Iraq and Syria, a good father must remind his family that they owe nothing to anyone and that their lives can be as peaceful and free as any other family in the world. He must also recommit to be the rock for his kids, even when it seems as if they are falling from grace.
A good father is compassionate. He listens to his wife and his children when they are hurting and tries to understand their point of view. He tries to find a solution that will allow them to move on from the pain and make a positive change.
Fathers have a huge impact on the lives of their children, and a good father must help them become the best version of themselves that they can be. By dispelling these myths and encouraging men to step into their roles with confidence, we can help more fathers thrive and build a better world for themselves and the next generation. For more information about how to be a great father, contact The Family & Marriage Institute at 1-800-468-8606.