I started this blog post earlier this week in my head. That is how most of my blog posts begin as I think a lot in my head as I drive, as I shop at the grocery store, or as I stare out the window behind my cube on a mind break from my work.
The problem with starting posts in your head is that sometimes the really good post has a hard time getting from brain to fingers.
I have now been staring my screen for several minutes. Every now and then my brain instructs my fingers to type out some content, but then I erase the words because they do not sound like the ones in my head earlier this week.
I wanted to write a post that could identify good fathering.
The post in my head was very eloquent. It identified three key factors to good fathering that I could share with readers. The formula to good fathering would have been yours…free from me here on the internet. If you – fathers at large – followed these three concepts, you would be a good father, and your children would be amazing.
Good idea, right?
On Friday, the post in my head pushed me to pursue some research from a quality source – my Facebook friends. I wanted to be able to use examples from others in order to illustrate my three points. I used my Facebook status to ask three questions of my Facebook friends (I forgot to turn the privacy setting to public as I sometimes do for these quality research moments):
- What did you most appreciate about your dad as you were growing up?
- What do you now, looking back as an adult, most appreciate about your dad
- What do you – as an adult if you are on – presently appreciate about your dad?
Most researchers would not be super happy with the sample of three responses that I received, but I was thrilled. I had hoped for quality answers more than quantity, and quality is what I received. But there was one problem – the answers did not line up with my three identified qualities (which, by the way, I no longer can remember…that is probably a good thing…read on…!!!).
The answers I received completely changed my blog post.
I no longer had a grand formula of good fathering but rather a single concept that is much more true and accurate than any formula I could devise. Dads and moms are really different animals. What we need from our mothers differs greatly from what we need from our fathers. And my Facebook research reminded me of something that I have known for a long time.
Good dads are the dads we need.
Perhaps this sound trite, convoluted, or even confusing, but it is true. There is no formula to good fathering because few children are alike. Oh, they may have similar characteristics that we can put into boxes: strong-willed, compliant, soft-spoken, academic, athletic, etc. However, each child is unique and requires unique parenting. Therefore, the good dad is the dad who sees his child as unique and who becomes the best dad for that child.
The responses to my Facebook research revealed this to me as young women said the same thing in different ways in response to what they appreciate about their dads:
- “He was always proud of me.”
- “His strong support of me and of what God has called me to do.”
- “[He] had two young girls and took the time to understand us and to accept us as we were.”
Good dads are the dads we need. They see us as we are, the help us become better, and they love us even though we (their children) are often unlovely. They approach each child differently and remind their children that fair does not mean that they treat their children the same way but rather treat them the way they need to be treated. Good dads are not perfect – they cannot be because they are not perfect. But good dads try to be good dads, they strive to be good dads, and they are intentional about being so.
And let’s face it: we need good dads.
We know a good dad when we see one, and we need to celebrate and encourage him to keep being one of the good ones. I could diverge here about our country’s need for good dads, but I do not want to spend time talking about negative things on a positive day…but we know we need good dads.
So – to all of you good dads out there (though most good dads will not even be on the internet today), have a great day!
To all of you who are reading this, get off the internet and go celebrate a good dad in your life – your own dad, your husband, a friend, or even a stranger. Make today, and even this week, a time to identify a good dad and tell him that he is a good one, why he is, and why you appreciate him.
Good dads need to be celebrated, so go celebrate them!
ps: I think I wrote a better post about this day in the past. My brain is just not working today. I almost gave up completely, so thanks for reading this far. If you want to read that better post, here you go: A Few Good Men – Father’s Day 2012.