A Dad’s Toolbox

I can’t think of many things I’ve enjoyed more in my life than being a dad. Of course, there have been a few hard, even disappointing times, but not many. Kids will always be kids and I know I sure made my share of mistakes, learning how to be a father by trial and error much of the time.

But I couldn’t be more proud of my son and daughter, now observing them parent their own kids while my wife and I get to enjoy these six grandboys without all the mess (well, most of the time).

And while there aren’t any set rules to follow or practices to embrace that will ensure fathering success, I wanted to share my personal top ten list for dads

These are a few practices and insights that seemed to make a difference in any successes I’ve had as a father the past three decades or more.

Successful dads:

 1. Love their wives.  They don’t just act as though mom is another helper. They visually and with emotional show their children that they love mom in very tangible ways and are committed to her for the rest of their lives.

2. Keep their word. They say what they mean and mean what they say, even if they’re not perfect at that now and then.

3. Act like an adult most of the time. Healthy dads leave their adolescence behind, man up and lead their homes well in a partnership with their spouse. They’re not seeking significance from their offspring.

4. Still have a childlike heart. They can also enjoy playing and having fun with their kids while being spontaneous.

5. Take care of themselves physically but aren’t obsessive about it. Good dads model health and care for their bodies, but they know they don’t have to be a super-jock or lifetime athlete.

6. Live out their faith in everyday ways.  Too many men sit on the sidelines spiritually. Great dads model spirituality, not waiting for their spouse or leaders in the church to grow their kids in faith.

7. Laugh a lot for the right reasons.  Some dads joke around all the time out of insecurity. Great dads laugh and have fun because they are secure and don’t misuse their humor and joking.

8. Initiate important communication with other family members. Mature, healthy dads are willing to go deep and start important conversations about faith, struggles, concerns and life in general.

9. Pray every day for their family. Solid, godly dads don’t dabble at praying. They live on it. It’s natural, but it’s powerful. It’s common and it’s real, not just a habit.

10. Live like they are dying.They live as though every day might be their last. They enjoy moments, make memories and say what needs to be said.

No, there aren’t any perfect dads but there can be some great ones. You can be one. I’m going to keep trying as long as I’ve got a chance. You know, live like I might be dying.