A Good Father

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Most of us men just want to do good by our families. We aim to become better as fathers, but, a lot of us are just winging it as we try to figure this thing out. The truth is, we seldom know exactly where to go to get the proper advice and help we need in order to learn HOW to become the fathers that our children need. This isn't because there's a shortage of good examples out there but rather decades have been spent shining the spotlight so brightly on the bad ones that perhaps we've forgotten the true value and the magnitude of all the good examples out there for us to draw advice and support from. It's human nature for us to end up reflecting the examples we see, so, I am on a journey to becoming more intentional about surrounding myself with great examples of what good parenting looks like. I want to know what makes a good father. I initially thought that being a good man qualifies us to be a good father however I have discovered that the two are quite a bit different. There's an added weight of responsibility that comes with the title "Father". Well, I wanted to find out what exactly makes a good father and even though I know many great dads, my father being one of my all-time favourite examples, I wanted to look at this guy my dad used to tell me about called Adam. I never quite caught his last name but it's irrelevant either way as it was his father's parenting style that in all honesty, truly spiked my interest.   

Adam’s dad was extremely organised and had a knack for doing things in a certain order and it was no different when it came to the parenting methods used on his son. When it comes to bringing a child into this world most of us dads will make sure that we move heaven and earth to make sure that we’ve decorated the room, prepared a crib, filled it with teddy bears and other animal toys and we’ll make sure that we’ve created a clean and safe environment for our child to live in and this dad was no different. He wanted to make sure that everything was all good well in advance of his son’s arrival. (Take a moment to let that sink in) I had to think back at some of the things my dad took the time to think about and prepare for me before I was around! I find it incredible to now know and understand that a good father has his children in mind even before they are even born. #Grateful! Anyway… I wanted to share 5 focus areas I found in Adam's dad's parenting style that makes him a great example of a good Father. Here are, what I like to call the 5R’s:  




A father’s relationship with his child is one of the most important relationships a child will EVER have. There was a REAL father-son-relationship! They spent the time talking with each other.  It’s quite typical these days to see a father-son-relationship that is more reflective of a peer-to-peer friendship but this is not the kind of relationship that a child needs from a father. They will have many opportunities to find that kind of relationship with the friends they meet as they grow.  The kind of relationship a child should be exposed to is that of a loving mother and father.  I remember before our daughter was born I would spend time talking to my wife's belly in hope that the baby would hear my voice and know who I was without even seeing me.  When she was born I then spent a lot of time holding her in my arms and talking to her even though she could not yet respond or understand what I was saying. My wife always says she know our daughter better than I do and to be fair she’s not wrong but the reality is that it’s important  for me to keep that dialog going to make sure that I’m on a continual journey of walking and talking with my child so that I can create a bonded relationship. Becoming a father who’s consistent in communicating is key. How we communicate our love, instructions and discipline, plays an integral part of building a solid relationship with our children. A relationship between a father and his children is the one relationship that, when all other relationships fail, our kids can count on us to be there no matter what.  




It's a father's responsibility to give his child age appropriate responsibilities early on. I learned that Adam was given responsibilities right off the bat! Do we wait too long to give our children a level of responsibility that's in line with their age? When I was younger we used to have to learn how to cut the grass, cook food, clean my room and learn to make my own money. I can now see that when my father gave me a responsibility what he was actually doing is give me the opportunity to expand, stretch and grow myself through cultivating something or someone else. I've heard the notion that kids should be kids and that we don’t need to give our children any responsibilities as they will have plenty of responsibilities when they grow up, get a job and get a partner, however, when a father introduces his child to having responsibilities from a young age it helps to build a tolerance to it so that as and when the responsibilities increase, they will be ready and prepared for that added weight. In fact, it’s very much like lifting weights. You would never go to a gym to work out for the first time and try to bench press 200kg. You start off light then work your way up. I’ve learned that when an adult struggles with the weight of responsibility as they grow older it’s often as a result of not being exposed to a gradual increase of responsibilities from child to adult. Our kids shouldn’t be overloaded with responsibilities but a few light weights help build strength and character.  




A father who put rules in place creates a healthy respect for laws and structures. These boundaries are created to teach self-control and discipline, however, It’s increasingly popular to follow the notion that rules are a bad thing because it limits what child can to and can potentially do, it restrict their freedom and stunt their growth into adulthood. Rules provide a structure to the direction of growth and prevent anarchy and lawlessness. It’s almost as if we can sometimes be afraid of the word “rule” because that makes us the ruler! Have you ever seen a young tree planted in close proximity to other trees without a guard to protect it from damage? Or perhaps a tree that’s been planted without a stake to support and strengthen the tree until its anchor roots grow? This just doesn’t happen because what could be perceived as a restriction is actually there to aid the growth of a strong, well-rooted tree. Without rules all we are left with is anarchy. A good father will teach his child to work within the parameters of rules!   




A good father teaches his children that there are consequences, both good and bad, for their actions. As Sir Isaac Newton so eloquently put it “To every action is an equal and opposite reaction.” A father understands that the opposite reaction to acts of disobedience is a repercussion such as a loss of privileges. It's really is just a lesson in science! Lol! I grew up hearing catchphrases like "If you put your hand in fire, you'll get burned" or another some might be more familiar with "If you can't hear, you must feel!" I had the full understanding that if I did something wrong, I would have to pay a price and that really helped to prepare me for the "real world". A father gifts his children with the abundant gift of grace, however, in the real world we don’t always get second chances and so it’s important to make sure that our children understand from a young age that there are expectations required of them and repercussions for their actions.  When we only focus on rewarding our children and neglect to enforce consequences when appropriate, we miss an opportunity to clearly communicate to our child what NOT to do.  




No matter how great the punishment, a father’s love is always greater. I can’t count the number of times I have wronged my father! I have not always been obedient to what he has asked of me and I have sometimes time things that conflict how I was raised, however, despite what I have done I’m always shown love with open arms. I have never been disowned or felt rejected as a result of my negative actions. It’s the kind of love that tells me that when I do wrong I will be reprimanded for my actions but ultimately  no matter what I do in life I will always have the love and care from my father. I remember one incident when I made up a lie to my dad when I was a kid and it was such a dumb lie but it really hurt my dad. It was the worst lie of all time for me to make up (if there is such a thing as the worst lie) Over a decade later I still felt guilty and very much accountable for my words all them years back and I managed to pluck up the courage in 2012 to finally ask for forgiveness. Here’s the thing, after I said what I had to say and got it off of my chest my father simply said “Thank you son, but, I forgave you a long time ago! I never even held it against you!” That was such a powerful experience for me because it truly taught me that a good father will always offer redemption to his children and wipe the slate clean when they mess up! I was punished for the things I said and done however the amount of love my father showed me never once wavered.  




I've personally found these 5R’s to be a great point of reference that has helped me to assess areas in my parenting style that could be developed. I often have to stop and think, "Am I cultivating the right kind of relationship that teaches my daughter about responsibilities and rule? Am I teaching my child that there are repercussions to her actions but most of all, my love redeems all?" I often get it wrong and have messed up in certain areas of parenting, however, because I make sure that I'm connected with other fathers who I can use as good points of reference, I'm able to assess where and how I could become better as a father. They say that there aren’t enough good fathers out there but I still see a good amount of fathers who are doing good by their wives, family and their children so I struggle to agree because I’m now surrounded by them!  Here’s how I see it: The moment I take an interest in something new like a car, all of a sudden I start to see more of them popping up. The fact is that car didn’t just start to pop up more but rather I’m starting to notice it more because I’m more aware of its existence and now I’m alerted every time I see that car go past. We are drawn to the things that we focus on. I wonder what is our focus on this father’s day? There are some great examples of what being a good father looks like. I’m on a journey to find even more examples of them so that I can become the best father I can be! Today I focus on Adam’s dad for the 5R’s but I salute and respect my Father for being such a shining beacon and an absolute legend, and all of the good father out there. It is my hope that the spotlight is directed your way for all to see because a good father makes all the difference in a child's life. He's a pillar of strength, support and discipline. His work is endless and, oftentimes, thankless but still he continues to serve those under his care with a willing heart. A good father’s reward is found in the character of the well-adjusted children he raises.


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