Want to be a good dad?
Here is everything you need to know!
Clark Kent may be a fictional character, but Superman does exist.
He may not wear red and blue tights, and he may not have a cape.
The real Superman exists in every dedicated and present father.
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Good Dad: A Guide To Phenomenal Fatherhood
Today we are celebrating the good, the bad, and the ugly of fatherhood.
This article will explore different perspectives, practices, systems, and philosophies that can help you reach your highest potential as a father.
We will be considering the following ideas:
- Remembering you are the Sun.
- If you are present, you are a gift.
- Fatherhood presents a grander sense of purpose.
- The power of structured activities in your everyday life.
So, find your favorite beverage, kick back, and embark on this journey celebrating the divine spirit of Fatherhood.
Cheers to the good dads!
Son, remember you are the Sun
Our physical universe teaches us more about ourselves than we realize.
What is at the center of our solar system?
The Sun, of course!
The solar system is a powerful metaphor for the family unit.
As far as your family goes, you are the Sun.
Symbolically, your partner is the Earth who nurtured the seed and light you provided as the Sun.
Together your efforts birthed the stars (your children).
The gravity of the Sun, also known as Sol, is so powerful that it keeps everything around it moving.
The stars and neighboring planets look to the Sun to set their worlds in motion.
Your partner and your children also look to you.
The gravity of your words and actions will set their worlds in motion.
Do your words and actions keep their universe spinning in balance?
Or do they cause the objects in your orbit to crash and burn?
Being the Sun is a lot of responsibility
You are the Sun in your universe, and everyone’s orbit depends on how you move.
Your movements can shine light and make the best parts of your loved ones grow;
Or you can supernova and turn everything around you into scorched Earth.
The secret to being the Sun is remembering that the most tremendous power requires the slightest touch.
Be gentle with your firm hand.
You have the power to make or break your children’s self-esteem.
When you redirect them, do it from a place of love and enrichment.
Talking down to your children can only hurt their self-esteem.
As the Sun, you never get to take a day off.
You have to shine your light on all those who rely on you, particularly in the darkest moments.
That is when they need you most!
When times get difficult, or you feel stressed, unseen, or overwhelmed, remember you are the Sun in your family’s solar system unit.
You are a powerful star who can cast your light and bring worlds together.
Fatherhood presents a grander sense of purpose
Tupac Shakur was an influential figure in my life and the lives of millions of young people.
One of my favorite Tupac songs is So Many Tears, where he raps:
“Disillusioned lately, I’ve been really wanting babies, so I could see a part of me that wasn’t always shady.”
Even though he never became a father, Tupac had the foresight to understand that children are our purest reflections.
They repeat our words, copy our mannerisms, and have no filter sometimes, but they are also blank slates.
Fatherhood brings out the coward in some and the warrior in others.
Some run from the responsibility, while others relish the opportunity to grow.
Fatherhood represents a grander sense of purpose in life.
It will test your mettle and reveal your truth.
Seeing your reflection in another human allows you to experience new levels of self-awareness.
Your relationship to your mental, physical, and spiritual health matters more when you become a father.
You realize every step you take is closely watched and analyzed.
Knowing you are under constant observation helps you tighten up and walk with more discipline.
You know your children copy everything you do, so you begin to reflect on your behaviors.
What are you passing down to them?
Young humans are learning how to be people based on your words and actions.
The power of structured activities
I have been a professional educator and school leader for two decades.
During that time, I have learned the value of systems.
The old saying, idle hands are the devil’s workshop is true.
The activities that make my classroom fun and engaging also work at home!
Children are like plants in this way.
It withers away if you do not water, feed, and care for a plant.
If you do not care for, enrich, and provide structured activities for your child, their desire to learn and ability to absorb will wither away.
You might say, but I don’t know how to do structured activities!
Sure you do!
Ask yourself, what are you interested in?
Whatever you are interested in, learn more about it!
Your kids will be right there with you, just as excited as you.
You can also use your interests to spark learning moments with your kids.
If you like space, find some fun children’s videos about space on Youtube.
Print out some space-themed coloring pages and color them together.
Learn the names of the planets, sing songs about them, and count the planets and their moons.
You can do many things to make a simple activity come to life.
If you are into automobiles, there are hundreds of children’s learning programs about cars, trucks, and construction vehicles.
The idea is that whatever you want to learn about, you should include your children in your learning.
Routines and structure are the keys to being a good dad
Routines structure your day, making mundane or potentially complex activities much more straightforward.
Does your kid complain when it’s bath time or time to brush their teeth?
Make a game out of it, and create some incentive.
My oldest son is three and does not like to brush his teeth.
We created a sticker wheel with little pictures of toothbrushes and sparkling clean teeth.
Every time he brushes his teeth, he gets a sticker.
After he collects 14 stickers, he gets to select a special prize.
What are the benefits here?
The child is learning to work for what he receives.
He is taking care of his oral health and is engaged in daily teeth brushing for two weeks at a time.
But most importantly, this system allows us to avoid all the crying, arguments, and redirections of brushing a three-year-old’s teeth.
Having routines, systems, and activities adds structure to a day and provides fantastic learning and enrichment opportunities.
Essential skills such as scheduling, responsibility, clean up, upkeep, sharing, honesty, memory, socializing, and others are developed during structured activity time.
If you are present, you are a gift
Being present is the most valuable and inexpensive activity you can provide for your children.
I recently saw an interesting conversation with the rapper Loon on the Math Hoffa podcast.
He addressed the difference between being a father and a provider in a child’s life.
Some fathers rest on their laurels and are content with their efforts to work, pay the bills, and provide a home and necessities.
Loon made the distinction that if you give your children wonderful toys and a beautiful house but are unable to make memories with them, you haven’t fully embraced your role as a father.
The conversation was eye-opening because many men are conditioned to believe that if they work and help pay the bills, that is enough.
A father can be a provider, and he can be present.
Despite their constant requests for a new video game or bike, your children don’t care how much something costs.
They don’t really care if you buy them an expensive bike.
They care that you are present with them to ride a bike.
Which of the following observations do you want your children to make when they reach adulthood:
“My father bought me an expensive bike and never rode it with me,” or “My father rode the bike he had with me every chance he got.”
Your presence is the most valuable gift you can provide to your children.
Becoming the father you needed versus continuing a legacy
For me, growing up fatherless had its pros and cons.
On the one hand, there are many moments where having a dedicated father in your corner is beneficial.
On the other hand, with no father to set an example, you get to pick and choose from other examples you see and create your ideal concept of fatherhood.
The benefit of growing up without a father was that the experience drove me to want to be a good dad when it was my turn.
Unfortunately, many folks who grow up without a father repeat the process and are absent from their children.
Some choose to learn from their experience and do the opposite.
I used my experience as fuel to do the opposite.
I became the father I needed.
Everyone wins when I engage in that work.
My sons benefit from having an active, present, loving father… a good dad.
My inner child is healed because this work allows me to become a father figure instead of searching for a father figure.
Most of all, it allows me to continue to create beautiful experiences for myself and my family.
If you were fortunate to have a present, loving father, you get the honor of taking on the mantle and continuing the legacy.
You get to refine, add to, revisit, and remix all the examples and values passed down to you.
Fatherhood and being a good dad is lit!
Being a dad is one of the best things to ever happen to me.
Check out this book on daily meditations for dads.
What do you love about being a father?
Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.
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