The great baseball player Wade Boggs once said, “Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad, and that’s why I call you dad, because you are so special to me. You taught me the game and you taught me how to play it right.”
My Dad died a few years ago. When I was younger, I never really thought about him being a good dad. He was my dad and I loved him. Most of my childhood, my dad was an over-the-road truck driver. I mainly got to see him on the weekends. As I grew older I learned to appreciate my dad as a hard worker because he was rarely home.
When I entered into adulthood and started a family of my own, I vowed to my wife that I would always be there for my children and I believe I have continued to fulfill that promise.
I came across the Wade Boggs quote and it really started me to think, “am I just the father of these 3 young women or have I been their dad?”
I must say, to ask yourself that question is quite sobering. It always is when you have to put the examination light on yourself. I know that I have made some mistakes as a dad, after all I am human.
My oldest daughter is 26, my middle daughter is 22 and my youngest blessing, she is 14. I have skipped work and meetings to be at their events all through grade school, middle school and high school. At one point in life I became a bus driver at their school so I could go to their events. I coached them in softball and volleyball and did all I could to support them. And it didn’t stop when they became adults. I still do what I can, when I can to help them in life.
My daughters call me dad, daddo, and daddio. So that is a plus. All three of my daughters are following God and have accepted Jesus as their Savior. My oldest two daughters have given birth to two beautiful grandchildren. They have all made mistakes in life, they are not perfect (I know that might blow some minds since they are pastor’s kids. (sarcasm)).
I think it is fair to say, I am more than a father to them. I love my daughters and would die for them if necessary.
So what does it take to be a good dad? Here are four things we can start with. There are many more helpful tips out there for us to become better dads, but this is a good start.
- A relationship with God through Jesus Christ. If we are going to be a good dad, care for our children, provide them with everything they need, watch out for them, protect them, and everything else that is needed, then we better have a relationship with the One who knows everything, has everything and provides everything.
If we have this relationship with God, then everything else is going to fall into place. We cannot love others without loving God and knowing His love.
John said in his first Epistle, 7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:7:12 NIV.
- Be active in their lives. From the time they are born till the time they move on, be active in their lives. Change diapers, push the stroller, feed them the bottle, play dolls or get out the hot wheels and play with them, teach them to play catch, take them fishing, go to their special events, hang out with them. Don’t be like Peter Banning in the movie “Hook” and send someone to video them for you because you are too busy to do things with them.
- Teach them about Godly things and lead them to Christ. Seriously, don’t let the church do this, or a friend or a relative. This is the dad’s responsibility- Period. The greatest commandment in Scripture is this: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” Deuteronomy 6:5.
Now let’s look at it in its context, go back to verse 2, we read, “So that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.” Following Deuteronomy 6:5, we read, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” Deuteronomy 6:6-7.
This is something we could learn from the Israelite history. It reveals that the father was to be diligent in instructing his children in the ways and words of the Lord for their own spiritual development and well-being.
The father who was obedient to the commands of Scripture did just that. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” The training a parent is to give to their child is designed to make clear to children the manner of life they are intended for which is God’s way.
- Respect your children’s mom.
One of the best things you, as a dad, can do for your children is to respect their mother.
If you are married, maybe this goes without saying, but I’ll say it just in case; keep your marriage strong and healthy. This is a Biblical truth that we need to understand. We need to take time, at least weekly, to work on this relationship and keep it strong.
If you’re not married, it’s still important to respect and support the mother of your children. Don’t call her names or put her down in front of your child or children.
A father and mother who respect each other, and let their children know and see that respect, provide a secure environment for the children. When children see their parents respecting each other, they are more likely to feel they are also accepted and respected.
Recently, I was accused of being too protective of my children. The person said I helped them too much and did too much for them. I am not a perfect dad but I try and I will always care for and help my daughters out. Any fool can father a child – but being a dad, it takes a special person who is willing to put in the hard work to be a good dad.