For a number of years, I’ve had a front row seat to witness first hand some great fathers as they’ve interacted with their children. Most of these dads also modeled what it means to love their wives with an unconditional love.
The guys who I have in mind are in their 30s and 40s. They are normal men who have a mortgage and go to work each day. Yet, they have allowed Christ to deeply impact their lives as fathers.
Here are ten traits of a great dad:
1. The best kind of dad first models faithfulness and loyalty to his wife. His children witness this. While many men behave in ways that are small and childish, this man is real grownup. This mans wife married a real man who refuses let his immaturity dominate the relationship. This kind of man also blesses his children as he relates to them as a real father.
2. The best kind of dad is more concerned about being what his kids need instead of being focused on his own ego. Some boy-men are so insecure they must have their fragile ego massaged each evening when they are home. Such ego needs doesn’t leave much time or energy for being attentive to their children.
3. The best kind of dad is honest. He tells the truth whether anybody is looking or not. Too much change from the cashier? He gives it back. Does the ticket seller ask the ages of his children? He tells the truth. The kids know that their dad will tell the truth.
4. The best kind of dad wants to grow into a great dad. This dad doesn’t just talk about growing but is willing to put out the effort that it takes to grow a a dad. Meanwhile, other dads rock along and settle for the status quo.
5. The best kind of dad is more concerned about his character than how cool he appears to others. Too many dads are more concerned with how they look in front of friends, former classmates, etc. instead of growing in their character.
6. The best kind of dad doesn’t act like he is doing his wife a favor when he is at home alone with the kids. After all, he is their father! The best kind of dad realizes that he has just as much responsibility for the children as he does.
7. The best kind of dad supports and reinforces his wife. A mom and dad are a team. Kids recognize quickly whether mom is the real parent, dad is the real parent, or whether they are working together as a team. The best kind of dad works to create and support the team.
8. The best kind of dad knows he can’t avoid the tough work of parenting. Smooth talk, persuasive speech, and the gift of gab are no substitutes for the hard work of being a parent.
9. The best kind of dad talks directly to people. He doesn’t manipulate others so they will have the hard conversations while he sits back and watches. He doesn’t depend on his wife, children, or friends to have the hard conversations with others. The best kind of dad gets in the game even when it is hard!
10. The best kind of dad gives his full attention to his children. The other day five families took their children to a park near our house. The children were on the playground. The parents were stood off to the side.
Each parent was on a cell phone.
Texting. Checking e-mails. Listening to voice messaging. I suspect that some of these children would love to have had the full attention of their parents.
What would you add to this list?