A lot of society’s problems begin with dysfunctional families, and often this relates to absent or dysfunctional men. So, what might a good father look like? Here is a summary of what some of my clients have fed back to me over the years regarding what made for a good father in their lives, feedback which I think is worthy of a wider audience.
Initially, a good father might well be recognised by his feeding, bathing, burping, and comforting of his child, while going out to work to earn a living for his family and protecting the home and those within it.
He will also most likely be recognised as the bug-killer, and the one who is unafraid of the dark (at least on the outside) when a suspicious noise is heard.
Often, he’s the one who teaches his child how to catch a ball, swing a bat, ride a bike, fight to defend themselves or others, or drive a car. He will be a child’s biggest, best and most physical playmate, promoting independence, action, risk taking and analytical skills in his children.
He’s no slouch in encouraging academic achievement, and features in school activities and events, and extra-curricular activities such as coaching, scouting, or showing up on a Saturday to cheer from the side-line.
A good father displays both physical and emotional toughness, assisting in the development of emotional resilience – he’s the role model for manhood to his son, and the first man his daughter will ever give her heart to.
Dad has leverage when it comes to modifying a boy’s aggression and unacceptable behaviour, and models the good stuff such as being firm and fair, differentiating between right and wrong, working for a living, and punctuality.
As his children mature, he gradually withdraws his power, but is relied on for wise counsel, babysitting, and for encouragement of his child and grandchildren through adversity via perseverance.
In the end Dad will be the one standing as a guide, mentor, guardian, role model, and even knight.
That’s a sure bet, if he’s anything like the Dads above.
Steve is the Director of Relationship Matters Ltd. He holds two applied Bachelor's degrees (Counselling & Addiction) and a P.G. Dip. in Applied Social Practice. Steve is married with two children and lives in West Auckland.