Editor’s note: We’re glad to welcome Todd Melloh to The Father Life. Todd is the author 24 Dates With My Dad, a workbook to help you grow closer to your children and pass your values on to them. In the “Dates With Dad” series, Todd will be sharing some samples of the dates in his workbook.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to write and launch “Dates With Dad,” a feature every month that will provide you with ideas on how to spend time with your children.
I want to give you a brief history on me and why spending quality time with your children is vital to their development. Unlike many men, my father is my hero. My father, Bud Melloh was created by God for fatherhood. I believe his primary calling in life was to raise boys. He answered and embraced that calling better than any man that I know.
My dad worked 35 years as a union plumber and coached youth football and baseball for over 20 years. My mom and dad have been married for 43 years. I am one of four boys.
My mom didn’t work outside of the home for the majority of our childhood. My dad left the house at 6:30am and got home at 3:30pm. That was fairly consistent. We could always depend on dad being home about the same time every day. We ate dinner at the table together as a family. For my parents, spending quality time with their family was the most important thing in their lives. Every Friday night, we would go to dinner and the movies. Very rarely did we ever deviate from that routine. My mom and dad have continued that tradition.
My mom and dad weren’t rich with money; they were wealthy with love and affection. They constantly showered us with affection. I would categorize them as survivors. They never let any lack of money or resources ever stop them from giving their boys the best memories any family could ever hope for.
Furthermore, we never had to worry about them ever getting a divorce. That word never entered into their vocabulary. They fought like most parents do, but they would always make up in front of us boys. This gave us security that we needed as we occasionally witnessed our mom and dad argue.
My dad was very tough, but tender, on us. We had a healthy fear of my dad. My dad displayed a remarkable blend of discipline and affectionate love. Which is remarkable considering that he spent the majority of his life hating his job. But he always went to work, despite his lack of enthusiasm. He did this line of work for over 35 years. I can’t even imagine the pain that he endured. He experienced that pain for us. His job was his cross that he carried and sacrificed for his family.
He never wanted us to do without. His passion was, and still is, his family. Keeping his family close was his life work. It still is. He is so dedicated to his family that he would go through his own pain before allowing any of us to suffer.
This translated into me never wanting to disappoint my dad. While growing up, I could see the disappointment in his eyes every time I messed up. While at times, I would disappoint him, he would always tell me how proud he was of me and that he loved me. It was such a genuine love. His love for me has always been unconditional. No matter how bad I messed up, he was always there to love and support me.
We became and still are life long friends. We did everything together. He coached me in sports. We ran errands together, mowed the grass, did yard work, went to the movies, shopped, cleaned the car, painted dug outs together, whatever, as long as we were together. I would watch him build things or repair things. I used to always hand him his tools. He would explain what he was doing while making the repairs. He can fix anything.
While growing up, anytime my dad left, I was usually right behind him. He would call me his pal. I was his shadow.
Sometimes my dad and I would play hooky from work and school. We would just go hang out together. We would call it “our” day. Sometimes we would go to the horse races, catch a baseball game, go to the movies, hit some balls together or just hang out. It was so special. I had my dad to myself.
Prior to starting COACH Ministry, I used to ask myself, why God delivered me to my parents. Why am I so blessed? Why aren’t others?
As I began to reflect on these questions, I felt God tell me that He wanted me to give back what I had received. The majority of the men that I meet have had and continue to have a bad relationship with their dads. I am amazed. My heart bleeds for them. I wept many times as I listened to their stories. I began thinking if I were in their shoes, what my life would’ve been like.
God selected my parents because He knew that they would be able to pour into me the family values that I would need to carry out His plan for my life.
This coincided with my vision to write 24 Dates With My Dad. Little did my dad know that his idea of spending a day with me when I was a child would turn into an idea that would create opportunities for hundreds of other fathers and their children.
I encourage each of you to spend time with your children through purposeful dates. You and your children will remember them 10, 15 or 20 years later. Who knows, maybe they’ll launch a career from that one moment together.
I have selected excerpts from a sportsmanship/competition/teamwork date in my workbook, 24 Dates With My Dad. Here are some pointers while you’re on your date.
I think it’s important to teach our children how to win and lose. Especially lose. Too many of our schools, leagues and organizations are not keeping score because they’re afraid of someone losing and feeling bad. Or they are handing out trophies, like they’re candy at Halloween. We need to teach our children that we can learn so much from our failures and while losing stinks, there’s nothing wrong with it.
Be transparent and honest with each other (kids can see right through when you’re hiding something). Dads, share your childhood/adult experiences and memories with them. Most of the reason I am so close with my dad is because he shared memories with me from his childhood that I was able to connect with and relay to others. I felt connected.
Make the transition from sports to everyday life, especially work. Teach them how much you have learned from competition and how you have applied it later in life to things much more important than sports, such as family, friends and work issues. They need to hear how you have failed. Our children need to learn from their failures. It will build their self-confidence if they know that their hero has failed and learn how you responded. During your discussions, cite famous examples of failure to achievement (Abraham Lincoln, Jesus Christ, Alexander Graham Bell, Einstein, Michael Jordan, etc).
Enjoy your time together and please feel free to email me comments from your dates.
During each of your dates, it’s important for each of you to answer questions. Here are some sample questions on the topic of sportsmanship and competition:
1. Do you like to compete? Why?
2. Why is sometimes being competitive a bad thing?
3. How do you handle losing? Do you get mad?
4. What’s more important, winning or losing (a game or competition)?
5. Tell me a story about how someone was a bad sport?
6. Have you ever been a bad sport? What happened?
7. What was the best team that you ever played for? Why?
Suggested Activity: Play a game with your child and be competitive with them. Play a game of horse, checkers, board game or whatever and be competitive. Teach them how to win or lose. Don’t be obnoxious about it, but don’t be easy on them. Pick something that you both enjoy playing or something that your child is good at and play them competitively. It’s ok if they get mad and lose. That will help you teach them the importance of losing or winning, gracefully. Don’t be afraid to beat them at this game. It’s healthy for them to lose and learn how to do it with respect and dignity by doing their best.
For more of this date or the other 23 dates, log onto to my website to purchase a complete copy of 24 Dates With My Dad. Topics range from Family/Friends to Money and Trust to Anger/Respect and Forgiveness.
Todd Melloh, father of two, is a sports marketing specialist and founder of COACH Ministry.