But what qualities do they need to be a hero dad?
What is the first thing you thought of when you read “Fathers Are Heroes”? Your first thoughts might have taken you back to your experiences as a child. Or you might have thought about the father or father-figure in the life of your child.
There are several different lists that enumerate the traits or qualities a man should have to be a good father, and the items on the lists vary greatly. With that in mind, I will share my thoughts as I think about my father, my husband, my sons and sons-in-law. That’s a total of 9 fathers.
When you think about the qualities of men over three generations, it is interesting to consider the way each was raised – rural farms and ranches, big city, small communities, large families, small families, influence of a father in the home, affluent or less affluent. Even with all this diversity, there are several common traits that I have seen that have made them good fathers.
- Dad is present. He shows that he cares about his children. This doesn’t mean that he is with them constantly, but his children know that dad is interested in them and does what he can to be there with them – attend events, play with them, take them to work (when appropriate), etc. One of the fathers in our family travels every week, and is sometimes gone for a couple weeks at a time. His children still know that they are present in his thoughts and interest in them.
- Dad is consistent. This quality is important in so many ways and can also expand into a dad being dependable and trustworthy. So whatever Dad says, he means and does. This is especially true with discipline so children can depend on an appropriate consequence for an action, either good or bad.
- Dad is loving and affectionate. I realize that many men aren’t naturally affectionate, but these feelings are in each of us. A dad doesn’t need to be mushy, but he can show a caring heart, and that is what matters. He can show that he cares what his children feel and think. I appreciate that the fathers in my family take time to listen to their children and are engaged in their lives.
- Dad loves his wife / the mother of his children. This helps children understand the importance of mutual respect and the importance of supporting each other as a couple. Together they present a united front for their families.
- Dad is gentle. The stresses of work and the world in general can impact attitudes and habits. It is important, as well as difficult, for dad to leave his frustrations at the door when he arrives home. The family can help dad by welcoming him when he gets home and give him a chance to “decompress” from the work day. Home and family is a haven from the cares of the world.
- Dad is a provider. This extends beyond paying the bills and “bringing home the bacon”. This means that dad puts aside selfish desires to be aware of and support the needs of his family – mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual.
These wonderful qualities need to be nurtured and encouraged by all family members. Families must give and share so that they enjoy growing together. I have seen this in my children’s families and it certainly adds to the quality of family life.
I am sure that you have thought of many other qualities that make a wonderful dad. Please share them with us. Please include stories that will help us understand why it is important to you.
Deanne Taylor is president of Utah Mothers Association. She is the mother of eight children. She and her husband Devon love spending time with their nineteen grandchildren!