by Meg Meeker, M.D.
– Dad is the hero of his children and when he is not there, the children will suffer.
– The key question is not how much the father makes or how many flaws he has, the difference maker is how much dad is involved in the children’s lives.
– How you, dad, can be the hero at home:
1. Be tough enough to bear the weight of family burdens. Be the man that steps up at home.
2. Reduce the friction. Men are problem solvers, so work at reducing the tension or friction at home.
3. Act on your highest beliefs. You have a vision in your mind of what a good dad looks like — it may be your dad, another man or something that you have made up, but you have an ideal picture of what he is to do and look like. Be that man.
– A dad is a child’s hero and within a dad is to be that hero. Not their teacher, their coach or someone else, but their dad is their hero.
– Kids want their dad’s approval more than anything else in life. They want us to meet the standard that you set for them because you will always be their dad.
– Children mimic.
– As a father, everything you do casts a giant shadow.
– You cannot change the past, but your decisions for now and the future urge you to be the greatest dad your children need and want.
– Every minute you spend with your children is like time multiplied. As a father, you have the magic to make time stand still. Your 15 minutes a week of playing with your children may seem like one hour every day in their mind.
– Live like a hero. To a young child, you don’t have to measure up to be their hero, you already are. So live out what you are in their eyes.
– What is going on inside of a teen is usually seen in their behavior. When they lash out at, don’t yell back, be patient with them.
– Man equivalent their lives with their jobs; but their greatest responsibility is not their job but their role as a father.
– Moral integrity and courage are of upmost importance in the life of a father.
– Teaching character to your children is much more important than all of the accomplishments they make as a good sports player, student with good grades, etc.
– Character and discipline is much better than winning a game or being recognized.
– Good leaders stand for what’s right no matter what others think. As a dad, don’t fear telling your kids they have had enough screen time, not wear a specific outfit, not to hang around those friends, etc.
– Do not be afraid to teach your children rules: it is wrong to be lazy, it is wrong to steal, it is right to respect others, it is right to tell the truth, it is wrong to harm your body, it is right to help others, etc.
– Lead your family sacrificially:
• Instead of going out with your buddies, take your family out.
• Instead of buying that new gadget, invest in savings for your children.
• Instead of relaxing yourself, take your family to the park.
• Instead of being stingy or using it on yourself, let your children see you give money at church and to others.
– If you did not have a good dad growing up, you know what to avoid. If you had a good dad growing up, you know what to emulate. Either way, within every man there is the possibility, placed by God, of being a good father.
– Children need their fathers to answer three main questions:
1. Dad, how do you feel about me?
• Don’t ever assume that they know you love them, express your love constantly.
• Teach your children that they are loved, they will have self-confidence and go places in life.
• Put your phone or computer to the side and look at your children in the eyes and talk to them.
2. Say something.
• Many men are hesitant to say, “I love you” because their fathers did not say it, but you need to get those words out — they are very impactful.
• No matter what the age is, the need for dad’s affirmation is always there.
• Praise your children, but make sure it is honest and real. Kids see through fakeness.
• Praise their character, not just what they do. Kids want to know that you really love them, not just for what they can do.
• Take advantage of failures — when your kids feel like they are filled in a certain area, that’s when you can jump in and tell them how you still believe in them, love them and no they can do it.
3. Dad, what do you hope for me?
• Be careful how you behave, because your sons will want to be like you and daughters want to marry a guy like you.
• Talk about their future in specific ways — where they will be living, will they marry, what they will be doing, etc.
• Dream with them. Don’t live out your dream through them, let them have their own dream.
• Being a good dad has hardly nothing to do with the inheritance you can leave, the college you will pay for, etc. It has to do with you believing in them and giving them hope.
– Play with your kids.
• When a dad is present, so many bad things are avoided and so many good things happen in the heart and life of a child.
– Pray with your kids.
• When you pray with children, it gives them a sense of security.
• Children are born with a faith that there is a God.
• Praying shows your children that even their strong dad needs to get on his knees to talk to God.
• Nothing will bring your family closer together than daily praying together.
– Be steady.
• Strive to be the voice of reason, dependable and faith.
– Be honest.
• If you want your children’s trust, you must be honest with them.
• Trust, integrity and truth are all part of being a hero.
• Don’t lie to your children, they should and need to know the truth.
• If you live a double life, when your kids find out, and they will find out, they will think that everything you have ever told them or did was all fake.
– Be firm.
• It might not be popular today to discipline, but you must be firm in your discipline.
• Too many people want to be friends with their children instead of the adult, but they need you as their dad.
• Being a disciplinarian has nothing to do with being harsh, cruel, critical or hurtful, it has to do with enforcing the rules that have been laid out in the family.
• In a study of men that were incarcerated, one of the common traits they had was that no one ever told them no. They did not have a disciplinarian, someone to put their foot down when needed.
• Give a bedtime, make them eat what is put before them, make them have chores and put this on in their lives.
• No matter what kids say, they need and want to feel protected.
– Stay committed
• Dads can be great teachers of what it means to be stay committed.
• You will not always feel like going to work, being nice, loving your wife or any number of things, but you must stay committed.
– As a father, our words have enormous impact. We might not realize it but our children and wife does. Your words are never just words to your children and wife, they have the power to hurt or heal, tear down or build up.
– We are all tempted to lash out and say things, but keeping your cool will help you not regret later the hurtful things that you said.
– Learn to be a master communicator with your children – use the “car” acronym:
C – correction. There are going to be times when you have to correct your children for things they did. If you are angry, you need to wait. Be firm and correct your children. Do not let anger control you and lash out your children.
A – Affirmation. Dads are pretty good at affirming their daughters but not their sons because they feel it is less need it — but this is not true. Children need to know that they are valuable to you and to God, so let them know. Tell them how you admire them, trust them, respect them and believe in them. Make eye contact. Speak less, listen more. Be available and be engaged.
R – Respect. If you want respect, you have to learn to show respect. No, there’s no excuse for a kid to lack respect to his parents, but there’s no excuse that a dad should lack respect to his wife or children either. Giving respect will gain and get respect.
– Say no takes courage, but it is right. You have to learn to say no to certain things even when children slam doors or get upset about it.
– What you say matters. If your child ever hears you, whether on the phone or to your spouse or to a friend, say anything negative about them (their figure, lack of ability, etc.), it will take them years to get over it.
– God does not force us to love him. He died for us, cares for us and watches over us, but He does not force us to love him. We as dad’s should do everything to love our children but let our children love us back instead of trying to force them to love us.
– Have courage. Courage to stay committed. Courage to live right. Courage to say I’m sorry when you have lost your temper or need to ask forgiveness for something. Learn the art of forgiveness. Ask it for yourself and give it to others.
– Identify whatever obstacles between you and becoming a better father. Whether they are a hobby, bad habit, fear, anger towards them or towards your spouse or whatever it may be, identify it and then work at overcoming it. Your kids need you.
– Being a hero dad does not mean that you get everything perfect right, it means that you get the big things right — that you are committed and courageous to love them and do what’s right.