Fatherhood is the most important job that any of us—including the President of the United States or the CEO of the world’s largest company—will ever have. It is the only role in life for which we are truly indispensable.
Your job, your career, it will all end one day, sooner than you expect. But no one can replace you as a Dad to your children, ever.
Dads, no other man will love your children as much as you can.
Now that is a powerful statement, wow!
I have been a Dad since more than a decade as I write this in 2013. A friend gave me an article from a Book by Gregory Slayton called Be a Better Dad Today [Gregory Slayton and his wife Marina have four children]. It touched my heart, and I am sharing something taken from it with the hope that this will touch many more men, especially those who are already fathers.
This is what he says: Being a good dad isn’t easy—and there is no explicit instruction manual. It’s pretty much a 24/7 labor of love—love that isn’t always returned. But it is clearly the most important job that you and I will ever have. If you doubt me on that last point, think about it: not only does the future of civilization depend on it (and that is no exaggeration), our individual families and our personal futures depend on it as well. In the many centuries before our modern TV/internet culture, disintegrating families, and Social Security, mothers and fathers understood implicitly that the job they did as parents was critical to their future and society’s future. And while some today may try to de-emphasize the importance of effective moms and dads—in reality there is no better “return on investment” then children who grow up to be a blessing to their families and an asset to our world. As Peter Lynch, the co-founder of Fidelity Investments, has said repeatedly: “Your children are your best investment.”
“Nothing I’ve ever done has given me more joys and rewards than being a father to my children.” says Bill Cosby, an American comedian, actor, author, television producer, educator, musician and activist. A veteran stand-up performer too!
Somehow, much of our society has forgotten this simple fact that Bill Cosby has expressed so well in the above quote. Down through history, men have gotten great joy from being good fathers, and society has directly benefited.
Fatherhood has always been one of the cornerstones of civilization. In fact, many of the most serious social issues our society wrestles with (from adult illiteracy to teenage pregnancy to increasing rates of chronic unemployment, drug abuse and mental illness) stem directly from the breakdown of fatherhood.
The statistics are abundantly clear: Children who grow up without fathers are two to three times more likely to spend time in jail, drop out of school, fail to ever hold down a long-term job, suffer from a severe mental illness, or become addicted to drugs or alcohol.
And they are three to four times more likely to bear children out of wedlock themselves . . . and thus continue the cycle of social devastation that threatens our society.
There is hope for all of us fathers out there. We all trip and fall, we fail. Doesn’t matter.
I am writing this article especially for men just like you—men who want to be strong and noble fathers for their families, and have fun doing it.
I share that goal with you, and an exciting one it is! We are on a journey—you and I—and it won’t be completed this side of eternity. Becoming a good father is like running a marathon; it takes time, dedication and perseverance. In addition, like all significant journeys, we will never arrive if we don’t know where we are going. The fact that we share an important goal—to be strong and noble fathers—is an excellent start.
It is really not that difficult once you understand what is at stake here. You as a Dad are the one your wife and children look up to to provide direction. If not you then someone else will, or is directing them.
What can you do?
Here is an excerpt from the book: http://www.beabetterdadtoday.com/chapters/chapter-04/
Tool No. 1:
When you enjoy the blessings of life with your family by putting them first today, you create a stronger family for tomorrow. Family fun time is the best time of all.
“Do not be deceived . . . a man reaps what he sows.” Galatians 6:7, NIV
“Early in my career, I thought to myself, “What am I working for everyday?” The answer was “my family and their welfare.” So I made a pact early with myself that I would put family first. This meant crafting my own career so that I would not be traveling a lot, finding ways to plan out my week so I could home for dinner with my family and cutting out weekend work when the kids were young. Not easy to do, but 20 years later I know I made the right decision.” Randy H., Pleasanton, California
You might think, Wow, this first tool is a no-brainer. I’m good at that already. Maybe you are. Maybe. But I’ve found that many dads have lost the ability to put their families first and have fun with them. Of course, very few of us would ever admit this.
But here is a simple test: Do you have fun with your wife and kids on a frequent, regular basis?
If your answer is “not too often” or “I’m not sure” or “you don’t understand my situation,” read on.
Even if your answer is “sometimes,” you probably could strengthen your use of this tool. In fact, all of us could strengthen our skill with this tool.
For too many of us, weeks, months and even years go by, and there’s too much strain, stress and striving and too little laughter, love, lighthearted fun or quality time of any type with dad. That is really tough on our families—and especially on our children. Why does this happen? I believe that in many cases we as dads choose, consciously or unconsciously, to put something (or multiple things) in front of our family. We all choose what we focus on in life, and if we choose to put work or worry or our bank account or something else in front of our families, we will eventually reap what we sow.
Do whatever it takes, reorient your career,
If you are wondering, how can I do anything, is there help? There is help available.
The Fellowship of Fathers Foundation exists to help any and every Dad who wants to be the very best father he can be.
Here are some websites which will help you:
Enjoy your journey as you discover the joys of Fatherhood. I would love to hear from you too