As Father’s Day approaches, it’s fitting for us to think of our dads and other fathers we know.
With rare exceptions, being a dad is the most important role for any man who has the opportunity.
Some fathers flub it. If their kids become successful and happy adults and good parents themselves, it’s probably the result of some other adult who stepped in as a mentor.
Some fathers do an adequate job. They provide for their families, but pay more attention to careers or other things than to their children. Their kids may never reach full potential.
Some men revel in fatherhood and increase the odds of their children having happy, meaningful lives.
I was lucky enough to have a great dad about whom I think daily though he died more than 25 years ago.
I learned from what he said, and from watching him live by his own words. Though a strict disciplinarian, he was fair and compassionate.
He took time to teach me about the things he knew and enjoyed, while also making sure I had a chance to participate in things that appealed to me.
But it’s another dad I want to write about today.
For the last 19 months I have watched my son, Dobin, become a wonderful father.
As I write this, he is singing to his daughter, Jena, after giving her a bath. I hear her laughter coming from behind the bathroom door.
My granddaughter’s life is filled with smiles and laughter. Some of that good nature may have come with her from the womb, but I attribute a lot of it to stability, structure and love.
Dobin has a successful career, which helps to provide stability, but he doesn’t pursue advancing it to the detriment of his family.
Some things got passed from my father, to me to Dobin, but he is a better parent with Jena than I was with him. That can provide hope to those who want to do better than their parents.
Dobin is comfortable with his role - laid back, but not complacent.
He gives Jena boundaries, but they aren’t overly constricting. He watches out for her safety, but also realizes that a child learns from little spills and bumps, so he isn’t overprotective.
He doesn’t issue unreasonable threats, but does follow through with his punishment warnings if his instructions aren’t followed.
Unlike many parents I see, he is firm without yelling at his child. His comments to her are never abusive, humiliating or degrading.
He acts with respect toward Jena, while also requiring that she respect others.
Knowing kids try to meet expectations, Dobin expects the best from his child, and she usually gives it to him.
He reads to her, he talks to her, and he plays with her.
Most importantly, he loves her, and it’s obvious that she feels that and returns it.