“I’m so glad when Daddy comes home,
Glad as I can be;
Clap my hands and shout for Joy,
And climb upon his knee,
Put my arms around his neck,
Hug him tight like this,
Pat his cheek and give his what?
A GREAT BIG KISS!
Anytime I read this song, or think about my children acting it’s words out when I get home from work in the evenings, it makes me want to be worthy of the precious moments talked about in the song. The moments when your sons wrestle you to the ground before you can put your things down, or when your daughter takes your face between her chubby little hands and just looks at you and smiles with the most dazzling sparkle in her eyes.
In preparation for Father’s Day I thought it would be fun to ask a couple questions to some of my favorite blogger friends about their Dads or Dads in general. I asked, “What is a TRU father to you” and “what were the most valuable things your father taught or gave to you?” I was originally going to only ask the second question, but realized that some responding to this question and even those reading this now may not have had a father growing up or were subjected to abuse. I felt that their input was important though. I wanted to know what they felt like constituted a TRU father.
There is literally one in four children in the US that does not have a man to call Daddy, and far more than that live with men that may be biological fathers but certainly are not TRU Daddies. We don’t talk about mothers stepping up on Mother’s day very much, because statistically, we simply don’t have this same problem. You can compare that 25% of children who are fatherless, to under 2% of kids that live without their mother. Both fatherlessness and abuse stand as major risk factors in children’s overall health and development, but it doesn’t have to be that way. So many fathers can and do step up to the fears and challenges of fatherhood all the time, and for that we celebrate them and challenge others to step up and be the Dad that, when he walks in the door, his children clap their hands and shout for joy.
The following statements are some of my favorite parenting bloggers responses to the questions, “What is a TRU father to you” and “what were the most valuable things your father taught or gave to you?”
I hope you enjoy them and they inspire others as they have me. What would you add to their responses?
Laura Herndon Ling- “Just about anyone can become a biological father. Daddies are created by the continuing effort to make the world a better place for their families. Daddies are made when men stand up to their fears and do whatever it takes because their precious child believes in them.”
Andrea Nair- “The most valuable thing my father gave me was a sense of capability. I have a strong push to try and find a solution to problems and keep going even when that it hard—I’m sure that came from him. “
Josh Misner- “A father protects his child, acting as that child’s safety net for life. Of all the things a father can offer his children, nothing is more important than to make himself available to his children, and to do so with full intention. Being mindfully present in this matter means that nothing else in this world can take precedence over his child’s physical, emotional, and spiritual well being, and as such, all other demands absolutely must be set aside in favor of the child whenever such a need arises.”
Elly Taylor- “My dad wore a mask to work, I could almost see him taking it off as he came through the door. Knowing the man behind the mask is the greatest gift my father has given me, particularly as he is now frail and unwell. With this comes a curiosity to see behind other people’s masks, to really know them. I think being a TRUE father is putting down your mask with your partner and your kids and allowing them to connect with the man behind it. Thanks for this, you’ve given me a little gift.”
Ariadne Brill- “My father has always been a very patient listener. Instead of giving me advice on what I should or must do, he is always just there to listen, but in a very caring and present way. This has allowed me over the years, in a variety of situations to sort out my own feeling or problems and find solutions that truly belonged to me. His caring, non judgmental presence, is something I strive to offer to my own children now.”
Amy Bryant- “What is a true father? …Someone who recognizes his child’s true self in the midst of an upset… Someone who recognizes the power of play and uses it to empower his child vs. overpower his child… Someone who delights in his child’s unique qualities and supports his child’s unique journey with gentleness and unconditional love.”
Amanda Rueter- “My Dad taught me that communication is key in any relationship, whether it be with your spouse, children, or friendships. When people fail to communicate with those they love, relationships fall apart. Even when it’s hard, always step up and tell others how you feel and what you need.”
Marilyn Price Mitchell- “As I reflect on my own father and what I think most affects children as they grow to develop adult relationships of their own is how our fathers set a tone of love, acceptance, and respect in their families. When fathers treat their wives as equal partners, they model the true meaning of love and collaboration. It’s an example that is passed from generation to generation.”
Andy Smithson- Years ago my Mom told me about a book she read called, “Man of Steel and Velvet.” That is how my mother always described my father. He was a man of steel and velvet. He was strong, physically, mentally and emotionally but he was gentle, kind and inviting. My father worked with his hands his whole life. My father worked in the plumbing industry most of his life as a father. His hands were callused as hard as tanned hide, but I can remember as a little boy laying my head on his lap in church and him tracing figure eights around my gently pinched eyes and down my back with those rough, callused hands. My Dad could shave at 7 AM and by 9 O’clock he would have a 5 O’clock Shadow. The only problem with this was that he was a hugger. He would lean down for a hug and you could swear that he was going to sand your face right off on his whiskers.
My father was an amazing example of a TRU father. He laid the foundation for the man I am and played an enormous role in teachings me the values and skills that I base my happiness upon. He taught me everything from how to treat my mother with kindness and respect to how to dig a snow cave. One of the most valuable things he taught me was to love people. He taught me that everyone has infinite value and to treat them as such. He made sure I knew that he loved me even when I was not the perfect child. He spent time with me, even when he was exhausted. He was always seeking ways to improve himself. My father is gone now but his life and memory serve as a legacy for me to be a TRU father.
A TRU Father to me is a man that will always seek to improve himself. He will teach and love his family with a passion above all else. He will treat his spouse and his children in a way that they can emulate and build upon as a solid foundation for happiness and growth so that one day, they too can do the same.
Happy Father’s Day! Go be a TRU Dad!
Question: How would you answer the questions above? What is a TRU Father to you? What were the most valuable things your father taught or gave you?
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