This Sunday is Father’s Day. Don’t forget. Run out and get those barbecue utensils, wrench set, or last minute gift cards. At least remember the cake, heavens the cake!
Since it is Father’s Day weekend I thought I’d do the unthinkable: give advice on how to be a great dad. Every mental health profession has a list. I’ll keep mine to five.
Every virtue begins with listening, first to God, then to others. Listen whenever a child has something to say. Persevere with the why questions or details of the latest cartoon movie. Practicing this all through the childhood years makes it easier for a teenager to come to you when they mess up. Trust me. Mine are 20 and 17 now and we know most things when they come up. “St. Francis de Sales, that great Saint, would leave off writing with the letter of a word half-formed in order to reply to an interruption.” St. John Vianney
Yes we know that we are supposed to make all this time to be with the kids but let face it, times are hard. Many dads (and moms too) work long hours just to make ends meet. So don’t feel guilty about not “spending quality time” with your kids. This isn’t an ideal world. However, when you can steal away, do so. Give up that first half of the football game and take a walk, play one round of Uno, or throw a ball with your child or children. If they are older explain about hard work, supporting the family, and managing time. Remember, before you know it they will be stepping out into the real world too. Best they know what to expect. Oh yes, remember to LISTEN!
Pats on the back, high-fives or knuckle punches, Dutch rubs, and hugs are nothing but helpful to kids. Many studies show that positive and supportive affection builds confidence. Bonus: kids feel loved when they are hugged! But you knew that, right?
This may seem an odd suggestion, but try abstaining from alcohol during your children’s middle school and early high school years. It’s better then saying, “don’t” when you are heartily imbibing. We abstained for three years and during that time talked to our children about resisting peer pressure. It’s hard to argue with a parent who is also experiencing peer pressure. I have to admit I was surprised how much adult peer pressure there really is. Try it. Then you’ll know what your kids go through.
Most of all remember that you have a Father in Heaven who is really with you and within you, so said Jesus. Be grateful for His presence in your life and for His gift of fatherhood to you. Thank Him. Try to be like Him and if you fail, ask forgiveness of Him then try again. You can do no more than that. It is good for children to see an imperfect dad who tries rather than a seemingly perfect dad who can do no wrong.
Happy Father’s Day! Enjoy the song! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-WArlvgR8E&feature=related
picture by Barbara Murdter, Wikimedia Commons