Alright, I’ve tidied up as best I can, and got out the fine china. Please help me welcome my first ever guest blogger, Michael, by clicking through to his amazing blogs Life to Her Years and Finding Manhood and sharing this post on Facebook and Twitter! Leave a reply, too!
By Michael Mitchell
I’ve written a lot on http://findingmanhood.com one of my other blogs on the many qualities I think of when I think about what makes a man a REAL man. Qualities like generosity, courage, simplicity, contentment, strength, and many others. And in many ways, those same general qualities also apply to being a dad.
Even so, as I’ve become more comfortable in my role as a new father, I’ve begun to ponder what it really takes to be a good father. Thankfully, I had a pretty good example in my own old man and so that’s been helpful, but (much like everything in life) I want to come up with my own set of standards for the kind of dad I want to be. With that in mind, I’ve started a list (for some reason, I’m really into lists these days) of what I think it means to be an extraordinary dad. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
1. An extraordinary dad gets on the floor and plays with his children.
2. An extraordinary dad looks for ways to add joy to his children’s lives.
3. An extraordinary dad is intentional about setting loving, but firm boundaries for his children.
4. An extraordinary dad doesn’t blow up at his kids.
5. An extraordinary dad is there.
6. An extraordinary dad is willing to drop whatever he’s doing from time to time just to be in the presence of his child.
7. An extraordinary dad protects, stands up, and fights for his kids.
8. An extraordinary dad gives his children increasingly more freedom to explore and test themselves the older they get.
9. An extraordinary dad imparts wisdom to his children.
10. An extraordinary dad is interested in the lives of his children.
11. An extraordinary dad seeks to know his children by asking lots of open ended questions without making them feel like they are being interrogated.
12. An extraordinary dad makes a habit out of smiling at his children.
13. An extraordinary dad hugs and kisses his children often.
14. An extraordinary dad shows up for his kids activities.
15. An extraordinary dad does not walk out on his family.
16. An extraordinary dad does not berate, abuse, or otherwise negatively treat his children’s mother.
17. An extraordinary dad models healthy relationships with other men.
18. An extraordinary dad is not afraid to let his kids see him cry.
19. An extraordinary dad sings to his children.
20. An extraordinary dad reads to his children.
21. An extraordinary dad apologizes to his children when he makes a mistake.
22. An extraordinary dad spends quantity AND quality time with his kids.
23. An extraordinary dad forgives his children when they screw-up.
24. An extraordinary dad is not afraid to appropriately discipline his children when they make bad choices.
25. An extraordinary dad is an equal partner in parenting his children.
26. An extraordinary dad frequently puts his kids well-being ahead of his own.
27. Even so, an extraordinary dad still makes his own mental and physical health a priority.
28. An extraordinary dad models the virtues he wants his children to learn.
29. An extraordinary dad says good night to his children EVERY night.
30. An extraordinary dad learns from his mistakes. He may fall down from time to time but he always gets up a better, stronger, more-loving father.
Like I said before, the list above represents the kind of dad I want to be. I think each man will have his own list that will not be identical to mine, though I wouldn’t be surprised if my list was similar to the lists of many other dads out there. It’s also not a complete or exhaustive list, nor was it meant to be. In fact, if I were to go back to and reflect on this list every day, I could probably add a new item to it each day depending on the events of the previous 24 hours.
So there you go. That’s my list.
If you were to come up with your own list of what it means for you to be a REAL dad, what would you include?
Michael Mitchell is a thirty-something dad who blogs daily tips and life lessons for dads of daughters at http://lifetoheryears.com. While consuming copious quantities of life from a glass that’s usually half-full, he spends the majority of his days trying to balance his efforts to be a good husband & dad, a man of God, a professional raiser of philanthropic funds, and a defender of all things awesome. On the rare occasion he’s not tied up with all of that, he enjoys fighting street gangs for local charities and stuff like that.