A dad named Alan recently described his relationship with his kids this way:
Part companion . . . part playmate . . . part teacher . . . part pastor . . . part chef . . . part butler . . . part judge and jury . . . part dart-gun target . . . part coach . . . and forever father.
It reminds me of the tributes we see around Mother’s Day, where moms are described as having all those different roles—doctor, psychologist, maid, teacher, taxi driver, and so on. Many moms are great at all of that, and they deserve to be recognized.
This isn’t a competition, but dads wear many hats, too, and Alan has a great take on it.
So how long is your list, dad? How would you describe your role in your children’s lives? You might choose some different words here and there, but the point is that we have all kinds of connection points with our kids. Some of those roles may be out of our comfort zone, but that shouldn’t stop us from being the dads our children need.
Are you your child’s companion? Do you often just hang out? Are you investing quantity time, knowing that quality time will often grow out of it?
Are you a playmate? That one comes naturally for many dads, so just go with it.
What about a teacher? In some families, mom is the main homework general, and in others it’s dad. But getting involved in our children’s education goes a long way toward setting them up for success at school, which can be a huge advantage going forward.
Here’s a hard one: pastor. Are you purposeful about nurturing your children in spiritual things? This may be a role that easily gets shoved aside when life gets busy, but I hope you’ll recommit to it as a priority.
There’s dad as chef and butler—doing your role in daily childcare and household duties.
As a judge and jury dad, you need to have a plan for discipline and work with Mom to train your kids to be responsible.
How about dart-gun target? There’s another nod to the fun-loving, playful dad.
And you might coach your kids in sports or other pursuits, but your coaching can apply to all of life as you gain insights about what your children need and then help them reach their full potential.
You get the point, dad? Keep fulfilling your many roles with creativity and courage. Be that forever father.
Action Points for a Few of the Many Roles You Play:
- Be intentional about playing with your child this weekend. Let him or her choose the activity, and go with the flow. Just have fun!
- Teach your child a skill that you’re uniquely equipped to teach—related to an interest or ability that you have.
- Share part of your spiritual pilgrimage with your children; tell them a few high and low points you’ve experienced along the way.
- Relish your roles as “chef” and “butler” for your kids. Make it a regular habit to cook something together—and clean up afterward. Also, find ways to serve them in some way, not because they deserve it, but just because they’re special to you.
- As I mentioned, moms wear many hats, too! Take over all the parenting and household duties for an afternoon or evening so she can get away and do something she enjoys.
What other roles do you play in your children’s lives as their dad? Please join the discussion either below or on our Facebook page.
Carey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers who to make the Championship Fathering Commitment. NCF believes that every child needs a dad they can count on, and uses its resources to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need. Subscribe to his weekly email tip by clicking here: “Yes! I want tips on how to be a great dad who loves, coaches, mentors, and inspires my children.