[FATHER’S DAY 09] The Seven Traits of a Great Dad


This is article is part of a series of daily articles celebrating Father’s Day 2009.  You can find the rest of the articles at: http://thefatherlife.com/category/fathers-day-2009.

The month of June ushers in a time of recognition where many families around the world honor fathers for the active role they play in their children’s lives.  This month families from the United States, Canada and most of Europe celebrate Father’s Day. In Australia and New Zealand this special day of recognition takes place in September, but is celebrated in much the same way as in the United States. No matter where or when it is celebrated, Father’s Day is an opportunity to thank dads and pay tribute to them.

Many fathers around the world are experiencing the joy and excitement of playing an integral part in child rearing. As these fathers increase their involvement with parenting, a dramatic effect in the parent-child relationship takes place. The invaluable role played by fathers helps to build character, model respect and demonstrate integrity for the children they touch. Fathers indeed change the world one child at a time.

When fathers embrace their role and make a commitment to parent like no one else their children grow up to be like no one else. These fathers are affectionately referred to as fantastic fathers. Fantastic fathers leave clues to their success. They demonstrate a series of traits that can be found in fathers world-wide. Listed below are seven common traits found in fathers committed to raising responsible children with grace, dignity and love. Use the list as encouragement and direction in your sacred role of fatherhood.

  1. Fantastic Fathers are Effective Role Models. Fathers, what if your life IS the message? What if how you choose to live your life is the central learning that your children have come to earth to discover? What if the lessons you design, the tips you impart, the learning experiences you arrange, the lectures you deliver, the advice you share, the words of wisdom you speak to your children do not have as much impact on them as the way you live? Fantastic fathers know that they are the message and live that way.
  2. Fantastic Fathers use Self Responsible Language. Self-responsible language consists of words and phrases that reveal an acceptance of responsibility for one’s actions and feelings, show ownership for results, or make choices conscious. Fathers who use self-responsible language remove from their vocabulary words and phrases that point to others as the cause of their choices and behavior. They take responsibility for what shows up in their lives and use language that reflects an acceptance of that responsibility.
  3. Fantastic Fathers Teach Solution Seeking. Do you help your children learn and use a problem solving process? Do you take the time to help your children come to their own conclusion, or are you more likely to provide one for them? Will you let them struggle with an issue and encourage them to stay focused on the process of discovering answers? Fantastic fathers regularly search for solutions and teach their children how to do the same.
  4. Fantastic Fathers Help Children Develop an Inner Authority. Do you provide the support necessary for your children to test their wings? Are you helping them feel secure while they test the waters of real life without you? Fathers who parent like no other encourage their children to trust their intuition and to listen to the voice within?
  5. Fantastic Fathers Enable Children to Have a Voice. Discovering and learning how to speak up and use their own voice is a lifelong process for children. Fantastic fathers help their children gain skills and confidence when speaking up for themselves. They encourage their children to question unclear answers, challenge false statements and speak out in the face of injustice. They teach their children how to use words to become an empowered, confident, self-responsible youngster.
  6. Fantastic Fathers Suspend Judgment. Children make mistakes. They make mistakes learning to walk. They make mistakes learning to talk. They make mistakes with their homework. They make mistakes with relationships. And they make mistakes in responsibility. To suspended judgment means to assign no positive or negative value to mistakes. It means refusing to see mistakes as good or bad. It means perceiving them instead as choices that offer opportunities for growth. Fathers who suspend judgment do not name a behavior a “mistake” or judge it until they see how the child chooses to use it.
  7. Fantastic Fathers See Children as Teachers. They recognize that their children have much to offer in helping them learn and grow as a parent and as a human being. Fantastic fathers are aware that their children are offering lessons. They look for their lesson first. They focus on what they need to learn and change rather than on what their child needs to learn. They often become the student and allow their child to be the teacher.

All fathers have unique traits that enable them to find favor in their child’s eyes. On Father’s Day children around the world recognize and honor their dads. As you enjoy this day, use it to strengthen your resolve to continue parenting like no other and remain a fantastic father.

Image credit: Theophine Sebastian, SXC

2 thoughts on “[FATHER’S DAY 09] The Seven Traits of a Great Dad

  1. Hey Tom, from downunder we have a few other pointers on what makes a half decent dad…and NO it’s not about catching the best wave and saving kids from sharks at Bondi….

    + Patience: No matter how challenging the little blighters can be, try not to rush them.
    + Lead by example. Sounds like some leadership course? We are their first role models. Let them see you take action on both good and bad observations e.g. congratulate or recognise a good deed.
    + Invest time with them.
    + Love ‘em no matter what! So they spewed over your suit before that business meeting, trashed the house, blew your credit card or ran over the dog. Love them, and let them know it, all the time.
    + Enjoy life, have fun. Laugh, be active. Be enthusiastic about life and do stuff!
    + Bring home the bacon. It’s a definite weight on our shoulders. But we do need to adequately shelter and feed our dependents. Sound primitive…welcome to the foundations of our lives. Do it well and do it with pride.
    + Love their mother. Be sure your kids witness your unconditional love to her, at a minimum show respect.
    + Don’t patronise. It’s important to explain and provide sound reasoning for your actions and requests.
    + Time for discussion. Consider structuring the meal with everyone talking about their days’ highs and lows. You’ll be encouraged to see the discussion that emerges.
    + It’s OK to show your vulnerability. By doing so you can lead by example and teach them how to cope as failure arise.
    + At a minimum, you should create an environment that builds their confidence, self esteem and critical thinking. These three attributes, we think, will be the backbone of their life successes.

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