What Makes a Father Great

Father’s Day was celebrated for the first time in the United States on June 19, 1910 - in the state of Washington.  It became widely celebrated during WWII, when advertisers pitched that celebrating Father’s Day was a way to honor American troops and support the war effort.  By the end of the war, Father’s Day was a firmly entrenched, but unofficial, holiday.  It was not until 1972 – 58 years after President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s Day official – that the day honoring fathers became a nationwide holiday in the United States. 

And cheers to that!   Fathers (and mothers) who do their best to be the best parents they can be deserve to be celebrated and recognized!  As parents, we fumble, we struggle, we keep going when it feels like we can’t.  Parenting is often an exhausting, sometimes thankless, job with no step-by-step instruction book on how to do it well.  We pick and choose our parenting styles from our own parents, from other parents we admire, from books we read, and from the things we learn along the way.  Based on all of the above, here are ten of the things that I think make a father great.

1.  A great father is present when he is home and with his children. Yep, I don’t mean just physically present.  I mean engaged, participatory, and absorbed in the joys and duties of being a parent.

2.  A great father teaches his children right from wrong. By words and deeds, great father teaches his children that integrity, ethics, kindness, empathy, work ethic, love, and morals are components of a good person. He lives by the values he wants his children to follow.

3.  A great father does the hard parts of parenting, not just the fun parts. He disciplines and draws boundaries even when he's tired or would rather just be a buddy.

4.  A great father mentors, supports, and motivates his children to be their best selves, to take informed and justified risks, and to live life to the fullest.

5.  A great father supports, respects, and builds up his partner and his children. He protects his family and stands up for them when they cannot or should not stand up for themselves.

6.  A great father makes the effort to understand before he reacts.   He listens and hears.  If he still thinks he needs to discipline or teach a lesson, he will always do his best to be fair and just and to make it a learning opportunity.

7.  A great father teaches his children how to handle and resolve challenges and conflict with a good attitude and in a responsible and respectful manner, and he stands up for what he believes in.

8.  A great father owns and admits his mistakes when he makes them and forgives and accepts his children when they do, too.  He teaches his kids that no one is perfect and that what matters is taking responsibility, doing better next time, and showing grace.

9.  A great father teaches his children gratitude and appreciation.

10.  A great father loves his children fiercely and unconditionally – and makes sure they know it, which allows them to feel safe, protected, and worthy of love.

So there are my top ten.  What are yours?  Would love to hear them in the comments.

Happy Father’s Day! 

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