June 18, 2017

The Essence of a Successful Father

What makes a great dad? That’s a deep life question. I’m not sure there’s any “correct” answer. Each individual’s response may vary depending on their values, customs, and background. We don’t all think or act alike.

Heads up: Since this is my blog; we’re going to explore my feelings on the subject. This point of view is based on research as well as life experience.

Characteristics of a Good Father

The ideal father might not be rich and famous, but he will be encouraging and family-oriented.  Families are looking for a sacrifice of time, support, and appreciation. They probably don’t care if Dad brings home a late-model car; they want him to come to every sports and arts event.

What else defines a successful Dad? In many cases, he will guide the family in spiritual matters.  Even so, he will probably learn to let many things go; just stop worrying about them. Kids are like horses: you can lead them to water, but you can’t force them to drink.

 I’m not condoning a complete lack of discipline. I’m only saying kids often assert their own opinions, to put it mildly. Anybody who doesn’t agree with that statement isn’t a hands-on parent.

Let’s look at two examples of great dads. One is from scripture, and one is my husband:

The Father of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)

The father in this parable is a wonderful example of compassion and forgiveness. His youngest son demands his inheritance before his father has died. Then he leaves home and spends all his money. He ends up feeding pigs for a living in another land and eating their scraps.  

How low did he go? Pigs are unclean animals according to Jewish law. The Jews don’t have anything to do with pigs. The prodigal son would have been considered unclean, too.

His father didn’t judge the wandering son when he finally returned home. He welcomed the young man back with open arms and celebrated his return. Verse 24 states, “For this son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” (NIV)

My husband, John Lawrence

Where does he fit into the spectrum of “good father”? He’s right there at the top. That’s not just my opinion, either. He has the following qualities highlighted by a Washington Post article and an askmen.com article:
þ      Keeps an open mind.
þ      Accepts that his kids are different from him.
þ      Spends quality time with his children.
þ      Leads by example.
þ      Shows unconditional love.
þ      Trusts the child.
þ      Demonstrates deep support and loyalty.
þ      Teaches valuable lessons.

My Conclusion

“My father didn’t tell me how to live. He lived and let me watch him do it.”—Clarence Budington Keliand

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Are you thankful for dads today?

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