A dad is a man who takes on the responsibility of fathering in the fullest sense and commits himself to being there for his children.
The title of dad is earned through hard work – nurturing, bonding with, and supporting your child for the long haul.
It’s interesting to see people use both terms, such as father or dad. Anne Gettes once said that “anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.”
Being a dad is a serious and godly responsibility. We can choose between being fully present as a parent or retreating/escaping from responsibility with passivity. My actions as a dad constantly remind me that I am the only yardstick or role model by which they will measure their manhood or womanhood (exemplary fatherhood). Will my children remember me as a good and godly dad who pointed them to the heavenly Father? Or know me as that adult male in our home who gave only small bursts of attention and never spent quality time with them. I would like to think that I’m the former, but there are too many times when I’m the latter.
Growing up in my family, I had good memories of my own father. He was God-fearing, peaceful, a provider, and full of love.
Nothing puts a man in touch with his frailties quite like being a dad. Parenting, so easy in theory, is hard in reality, where the action is live, and we’re faced with on-the-spot decisions between selfishness and sacrifice. Even the best dads need supernatural power and the understanding that as we are trying and failing to parent, God is also parenting our children and filling in the gaps.
My children are out of the house and the parenting days are over, for the most part, and all that is left is looking back. My heart’s desire was to be a good father but I made some mistakes along the way. I want my children to learn from it and not repeat my mistakes in their generation. I’m liberated to apologise to my children when I get it wrong and assure them that I am perfectly imperfect.
My hope is that my children have fond memories and moving stories about their relationship with me as their dad and I encourage them to pass them on to the next generation. Also, I wish to leave them a legacy as a father and a good relationship that is not necessarily determined by wealth.
The secret to being a great father instead of a good father is seeing your children as a gift from God. A great father to me is trying not to demonstrate bad behaviour so the children don’t repeat it. Fatherhood is a life-long journey and not an event, while instilling an ever present pillar for them to lean on. I was constantly aware that dads are leaders and examples for their children to admire and strive to become. Children are your legacy, wealth, and do have immediate benefits, but the value of a good father is priceless. It also means giving them love, showing commitment, being a patient provider and protector, giving unconditional support, and taking responsibility.
I hope that as a dad I developed an everlasting role and influence in their lives, through connection, guidance, and love.