Monthly Archives: February 2014

Superman!

The other night I watched a movie on Netflix called “The Other F Word.”  It is a documentary that is really well done. (We all know the meaning of The F-word so this other F-word is Father.)

Since it features screaming guys in bands performing songs that deal with the misery of life and the use of the F-word to express it, this movie would not have been a choice for me if it had not dealt with dadding. But I began watching it out of duty to my cause and found it inspirational and uplifting and here is why.

First of all the guys it features, several different lead singers from different bands, are all beyond being the kids they were when they began their bands. Although they have continued with their financially successful bands, they have the perspective of mature men. They are each now married and have kids, and that changed their lives completely.

However, what struck me is that each of these men featured talked openly about having had terrible fathers. They spoke of neglect, abuse, and a host of other problems they had with their dads. But instead of being like their dads, these guys decided to be good dads—actually great dads. They have relationships with their kids they never had with their own dads, and they each talk about how they love it. They love being good dads.

I have several tag lines I use from time to time in my blog, and when I am talking about dadding. One is “better dads, better kids, a better world for all.”  Another tag line is “A dad is the most important man in his kid’s life.”  What these point out is that dads are essential to the well-being of their kids—repeat, essential.

It is very hard for a kid to grow up well-adjusted and able to live a happy, productive life without having had a good dad. If you did not have a good dad, there is nothing that can be done about that, however you do not have to repeat the performance and be a bad dad yourself. Dads are the foundation upon which a strong life is constructed.

I called this edition of the blog, Superman. That’s because a dad is Superman to his kids. Kids expect their dads to do no wrong and be powerful enough to help them deal with this frightful world.  So when they grow up they are adjusted to life and don’t need to form bands that sing out The F-word.

Taking Care of Number One

Often we hear the phrase, “gotta take care of number one.” And it is true— you do have to take care of yourself first. It is the foundation of being self-reliant.

However there is a flip side to this and that is, if you always put yourself first in everything, you are selfish, self-centered and not someone who is fun to be around.

So I think the rule is—take care of your personal needs, look after yourself, but when it comes to the needs of others, apply the golden rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated.

How does all this involve dadding? Well, the first place in life where being second is necessary is with your kids.  In other words, your kids come first. OK I am not suggesting that they get their way all the time, or that you jump anytime they want something. What I am saying is that their need for you as their dad is fulfilled before you fill your own needs. And that can be demanding, but it has to be so.

I always say that a dad is the most important man in a kid’s life. When the kid needs support, advice, comfort, or direction from his or her dad, the dad stops watching TV, stops his working on-line, stops dealing with emails, and gives the kid the support, advice, comfort and direction he or she needs.

So, now you are red in the face with anger thinking: I do not want to spoil my kids! I am not going to always stop everything anytime they say they want something.  Well cool down. I am not saying that you need to immediately respond to each and every request that your kid makes. On the contrary, that would spoil your kid.

What I am saying is that you need to let your children know that you are always there for them.  When and if necessary, you will drop everything to come to their side. You will put them first when they really need you. You are their backstop and downfield blocker, (to draw on two sports metaphors).  In short they can count on their dad.

It can be tough to give up taking care of number one for your kids. But it will pay off handsomely. You will give your kids the confidence that they are valued and important—especially to you—the most important man in their lives.