I went to a meeting tonight given by a local father's group to try and help out dad's in being a part of their kid's lives. It was interesting because we discussed how different things are from when we were kids and fathers were, to a large extent, pretty hands off in the child rearing department. The reason is being is that fathers were, traditionally, busy working all the time and most of the kid duties fell to the mother to deal with.
Not so much anymore, at least not in my house. I like to be a major factor in my children's lives, I like playing with them, I like talking to them, I like asking them questions and watching them think things through before responding, I like watching them explore, expand and learn.
One of the handouts I got at the meeting was from the National Fatherhood Initiative, a pamphlet titled 10 Ways to Be a Better Dad. And here they are, in short form (you can read the longer form at the link above).
1. Respect your children's mother - When children see their parents respecting each other, they are more likely to feel that they are also accepted and respected.
2. Spend time with your children - Kids grow up so quickly. Missed opportunities are lost forever.
3. Earn the right to be heard - Take time to listen to their ideas and problems.
4. Discipline with love - Fathers who discipline in a calm and fair manner show love for their children.
5. Be a role model - Fathers can teach sons what is important in life by demonstrating honesty, humility and responsibility.
6. Be a teacher - Involved fathers use everyday examples to help their children learn the basic lessons of life.
7. Eat together as a family - It is also a good time for fathers to listen and give advice.
8. Read to your children - Instilling your children with a love for reading is one of the best ways to ensure they will have a lifetime of personal and career growth.
9. Show affection - Showing affection every day is the best way to let your children know that you love them.
10 Realize that a father's job is never done - Fathers continue to play an essential part in the lives of their children as they grow and, perhaps marry and build their own families.
There now, that doesn't seem so hard, does it?