by Wes Fessler
The most important contributor to being a great dad is wanting to be a great dad. Anyone who is a father can be a great dad, but choosing to be is the very first step. Now, there are some who are naturally great, and who get everything right with their children without any effort at all, but for those of us who need to work at it sometimes, there is comfort in knowing that anyone who wants to be a great dad can certainly be one.
Fathers can be pretty busy at times. Life has a way of filling minds with all kinds of random distractions that are all necessary to think about and deal with, but making your children a part of your every day routine is essential to filling the role of a great dad. Knowing your children is crucial to having a good relationship with them. Don't expect happy moments with your children to come to you...sometimes you have to get involved and make them happen. Treasure the time you have with your children, and be a part of what they do. Discover their likes and dislikes. Be a friend not only a disciplinarian.
Great father's concern themselves with the safety of their children. They don't allow them to run off on their own without knowing where they are, or when they will be back. They don't call their children impatiently from across the street forcing them to set foot alone into traffic to come to them. Great fathers keep their children safe from subtle sources of danger, not only the obvious threats that could potentially maim or kill them. Exceptional dads remove the word lazy from their vocabularies when it comes to safety.
Great dads care about the success of their children. When their grades start falling, they are not concerned about how it makes them look as a parent, but about the real applicable knowledge that is essential to their children's educational development. Whatever their ambitions may be (even small ones), allow them to try on their own, but don't allow them to fail or quit when you know they can succeed.
Care enough about your children to make them laugh. A sense of humor goes a long way in building bonds with children. Be careful not to make a habit of laughing at them, but rather, with them in your light-hearted fun. Smile as much as possible. It is a contagious gesture for which everyone will appreciate being infected.
As a father, it is wise to consider being on the same team as your children's mother. When she lays down a decision for the kids, avoid undercutting it with a contradictory statement. Great dads know that a mother's decision is at least as important to the children as their own. Be respectful, loving, and as pleasant to your children's favorite woman in the world, and convince them by your deeds that she means as much to you as she does to them.
If there is one thing that drives children crazy, it is inconsistency. On issues that matter be consistent. Show your children that there is a reason for what you require of them--a reason that will not change with your mood from one instance to the next. Children value stability in their parents. Life itself can be rolling storm of tumultuous changes, but a parents expectations should be anchored in definable values that children can understand and sustain.
By now you're probably wondering when I am going to get to the Top Ten Tips for Dads, for which reference was made in the title. Well, as it happens, I already did, and now I will review them with a short list as follows:
Top Ten Tips For Dads
1. Want to be a great dad.
2. Make time for your children every day.
3. Know your children.
4. Make good times happen, don't wait for everyone else to bring the fun.
5. Be a friend to your kids.
6. Be protective of your children.
7. Help your children to succeed.
8. Make your kids laugh.
9. Be on the same team as your children's mother.
10. Be consistent in expectations of your children.
Any father can be a great dad. All it really takes is a desire to be great to your kids and the determination to do it.