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Title: Positive Fathering

Category: Positive Parenting

      Ideally fathers should take a very active role in parenting. When fathers are very involved with their sons and daughters throughout their life the children usually grow up heterosexual.  They are more likely to be well adjusted and well prepared for adulthood and marriage themselves.  Probably more than any other factor in parenting, a father's role will help to insure success in the long run.

     The average father in America spends a matter of only a few minutes daily with his children.  He may fool himself into thinking he is spending a little quality time.  Quality time is great but it must be coupled with a quantity of regular committed time to loving our children and being involved with their lives.  Our children grow up so fast that if we miss the opportunities when they are young we can never make up for them later.  Sometimes career success and individual hobbies may have to take second place to time with our children.  It certainly is the better choice during the first 20 years of our children's lives and it will pay much bigger dividends in the long run.

     Spending time with our children is unique in each household and each father can find the right time to spend with each child.  Some of the happiest memories that I have growing up were of making housecalls with my dad after supper at night.  He always got me an ice cream cone and we always talked while we were driving in the car.

    I also loved playing golf with him just before sundown after he had put in a days work.  Some of our best conversations were as the sun was going down and we were walking in together after that last hole.  By spending this kind of quality time regularly and over a long period of time children have a special bond with their parents and feel comfortable coming back home for advice and help when they need it. 

     Fathers should also spend special quality time with their daughters.  Perhaps a regular date taking them out to supper, or shopping, or something that they really enjoy on a regular basis would work best.  There are special times that children open up to their parents.   By spending regular quality time with our children these special times will pop up much more frequently.

     I believe fathers should be less like John Wayne and more like Jimmy Stewart.  I believe that the more we can wrap our arms around our children and kiss and hug them and tell them how dearly we love them, the better off they'll be.  Children need regular affection.  Daughters need to be noticed by their father and told that they are pretty.  Sons and daughters growing up in this type home are more likely to be heterosexual and to have healthy sexuality in their own marriages.  A father who is affectionate with his wife and gives his wife lots of tenderness and attention teaches his children a lot about relationships. 



     Fathers like mothers must love their children unconditionally just as they are.  Each child will be unique and needs to know that they are appreciated just the way God made them.  They don't have to achieve any great feats in sports, academics or anything else.  All they have to do is be happy being themselves and knowing that their father and mother love them.  Children need to feel this type of unconditional love and security in their home because they probably won't feel it anywhere  else.

     Fathers who are always proud of their children and who get more excited bragging about their children than about their career are on the right track.  When a son or daughter feels that they are that special to their father they will strive to be the best they can be as they grow up because of their father's positive expectations.

     Fathers can help to build many happy memories for their children.  Despite a busy, year-round schedule, I've tried to make two or three weeks every summer especially sacred for family time and vacation.  Now that my children are almost grown up I'm so glad that I did. We can look back over the past 16 years and laugh and smile at the many happy experiences we have shared in the Ozarks, in planes, trains, boats, and cars around the country and just nightly sharing around the dinner table.  Without making a priority of these special times such as family meals or summer vacation the years will pass and the beautiful memories may not be built.  Ideally the father will plan his family vacation as a top priority in the summer and them plan his career goals or his personal hobbies second. 

     Fathering is the happiest job in my life.  I am so thankful for my three special unique children.  I thank God for them and I pray that I am fortunate enough to grow old watching them marry and have children of their own.  I thank God daily that I have such a wonderful father who committed regular time and priorities to me.  He set a loving example for me to follow as a father to my own children.  I think that there is probably no more important job in the world than being a good father, except maybe being a good mother.  It is not always easy but it is certainly worth all the effort.  I wish the best in fathering for every man who reads this article and remind you all that our heavenly father is there to help us every step of the way.