Are Fathers Still Necessary?
Dennis “the Menace” asked his mother if Santa Claus brings us presents, the stork brings babies, the tooth fairy gives us money, and the Easter bunny brings candy, “then what do we need Daddy for?” It is enough to make one wonder.
Some suspect Father’s Day is really a conspiracy by the shirt and tie manufacturers. Father’s Day is said to be just like Mother’s Day – except the presents don’t cost as much.
All would agree it is unfair to expect Dad to finance graduation, weddings, and Father’s Day – all in June.
The typical father is forty-two around the chest, thirty-six around the waist, ninety-eight around the golf course, and a nuisance around the house. Dads often get under foot and foul up otherwise smoothly running family schedules. We’ve all heard the small child’s complaint, “Aw, do we have to play with Daddy again tonight?”
Someone sympathetic to the perils of fatherhood has suggested that a father:
- Endures childbirth without the benefit of an anesthetic;
- Gets angry at his son’s grades, while knowing they are the teacher’s fault;
- Gives his angry away to a man who he knows is not good enough for her. (A father was once asked if he was going to give the bride away. He said, “Certainly not – it’s costing me $3,000.”)
Being a good father is a tough job. Even when we give it our best shot, the percentage of success is not always impressive. The best fathers fail at times because we are imperfect, and our children have minds of their own. Still, this dubious record should not discourage us from trying to be the best fathers possible.
Some used to say every son goes through three stages in his attitude toward his father:
- “My dad can whip your dad.”
- “My dad doesn’t know anything.”
- “As my father used to say…”
Here are ten simple but impressive rules for parenting:
- Structure flexibility. Children need rules and fences – but also exceptions at times.
- Love unconditionally. That means when their grades are low or they are impolite.
- Discipline appropriately. Someone said, “Never strike a child except in self-defense.” The test of discipline is: Did it help the child to learn and grow?
- Explain fully. Children are like human sponges soaking up information.
- Praise generously. It is easy for us to criticize our children. Tell them when they look good or when they’ve done a task well.
- Show affection warmly. Children need to feel loved and to know we love their mother.
- Listen carefully. Give them some quality time.
- Admit when you are wrong. That is hard for some dads to do. Face it, we are not omniscient. No one is fooled. Why pretend?
- Model carefully. We teach values such as honesty and the importance of spiritual things by what we do as well as what we say.
- Choose friends carefully. Their influence is great.
In a word, fathers should love their children, be honest, and care for persons.