Best Tips for Being a Good Father
In appreciation of Fathers
Father’s Day has just passed, and I wanted to take the opportunity to acknowledge some of the many acts of fatherhood that I have been honored to witness lately.
In this time of unrest, where the images that we are bombarded with seem to be filled with hurtful, harmful actions of thoughtlessness and hate – often committed by men in power, I wanted to offer some other examples of strong men – particularly Dad‘s – who demonstrate care, consideration, inclusion, stability, kindness. I believe there are more good men in this world who really want to do right by their families and communities, than the ugly actions of a few would have us believe.
In my family, and my community and in who I work with, there are many more men who are unsung heroes; who plugin, are hands-on and deeply caring in everyday life as fathers.
This then is a simple but profound thank you to you who are actively creating a culture of care and presence and are mindful about fathering. Your contributions are important and not unseen. (My auto-fill first put the word ‘insane’ there – which in this day and age is appropriate also!)
First, to my own father – thank you for your steadiness; your endless offers to help; for your patience and mostly for your kindness. Thank you for working so hard so I could be OK. I know from my work that many people have not been as lucky as I in terms of having a present and generous father. Thank you for not letting the hardship of your life be destructive toward mine.
Thank you to my male relatives – grandfathers, uncles, and cousins – who have acted in a fatherly way toward me and my family, and been generous with time, attention, kindness, and hard work.
Deep appreciation to the father of my children who has been a blessing in their lives – instilling confidence and much love; sharing strength and tenderness – and who has been in a true parenting partnership with me.
Warmest regard to the dads I know through work and life who:
- Are not afraid to shop for their teenage daughter or who take pride in teaching them how to wash a car the right way.
- Who tear up when they make a wedding day toast to their kids.
- Who raise their sons with love and tenderness after that son’s mom has died.
- Who leave a legacy of doing good in the world, who continue to teach their children even after they (the dads) have died.
- Who teach their kids practical skills like painting, construction, car maintenance.
- Who delight in playing with their kids.
- Who delight in being with and playing with their grandkids.
- Who listen to their daughter’s feelings and even bear their tears.
- Who teach their sons to be beautiful, strong, capable, contributing adult men of color.
- Who can be loving and attentive to another man’s child and treat them as his own.
- Who is excited about the upcoming birth of his child.
- Who takes pride in his ethnicity and culture and imparts that to his children.
- Who works on his own mental health issues, while trying to create a better life for his kids.
- Who acknowledges his own privilege, racism, sexism and makes amends for ways he has been insensitive or been at fault.
- Who are working on maintaining sobriety because that means a better future for their kids.
- Who intentionally try to treat their kids in better ways than what they grew up with.
- Who works a second job around children’s schedule.
- Who care about giving children different opportunities than what was available to them.
- Who want to protect their daughters from getting into abusive relationships.
- Who accept their daughters and sons when they come out, and continue to love them fully.
- Who love to laugh, play music or dance with their kids.
- Who through it all, try to maintain respectful communication with their children’s mom.
- Who aren’t afraid to say “I’m sorry” or “I love you” or “I’m afraid”.
These are just a few of the admirable behaviors I have witnessed, done by good fathers. How about you? What are you thinking and feeling about the fathers in your life – present or passed? How would you add to this list? I’d love to hear.
If you or someone you love is mourning the father you had, or never had; or struggling in your relationships with fathers in your life, and need help to come to more peace, please contact me for a therapy appointment.
For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.
Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
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