A Note to Future Fathers
Disclaimer: So… I actually don’t have any children at the moment, and to be honest, I don’t see any kiddos in my life in the near future (also, considering my gender, I’ll never actually be a dad). These facts would seem to disqualify me from writing such an article—but nope. The notes below are based on admirable traits I’ve noticed in good fathers and male mentors, as well as a decent amount of common sense. But if I don’t get everything 100% right, go easy on me. This is merely a conjectural discussion.
What makes a good Dad? Guys, here are a few things to consider:
- Know how to laugh.
I’m no genius, but I don’t think children are all rainbows and butterflies. These “bundles of joy” will likely be your worst nightmare at times. Be prepared to stay up for countless hours, change soiled nappies, and have a nice dress shirt ruined by milky vomit. Also keep in mind that kids of all ages are exceptionally talented at doing stupid things (but then again, so are a lot of adults). The point is, even when everything seems to be going terribly, have a good attitude. Life consists of ups and downs. Focus on the positives and join a therapy group for the negatives.
- Expect the worst.
You are not immune to having a kid with physical or mental disabilities. Are you prepared for that possibility? A good father will pray for the best, prepare for the worst, yet be content with the reality.
- Understand that you and your kid might be similar.
Your child will very likely be similar to you in many ways. Besides genetics, your kid will instinctively want to emulate you. Like father, like child. It’s highly probable that your bad habits and negative character traits will be passed on to your kid. Consider the type of role model you want for your child. Become that role model.
- Understand that you and your kid might be different.
Shockingly, your child may have different dreams, goals, and aspirations than you had when you were young. Inspire your kid to become their own person. You want your child to be a doctor but they want to be a teacher. Let them be a teacher.
- Control your variables.
Your kid will have (roughly) 50% of your genes and 50% of your partner’s. Not only will they inherit the good and bad from you, but also from your lover. Keep this in mind when choosing a partner. Do you like their personality? Do you share similar morals? Are there any major health problems that could run in their family? What is their current health situation? Do they suffer from any addictions? Luckily for you, the choice of a partner is within your control.
- Be (financially/spiritually/mentally) stable.
Let’s be honest, there’s a right time and a wrong time to have a kid. The right time probably isn’t when you’re financially incapable of supporting yourself, let alone a family. It’s probably not while you have other serious, pressing obligations (such as school or a career that frequently takes you away from home). Also, it’s probably not when you’re dealing with personal issues such as addictions or emotional instability. Bringing a child into the world is an enormous responsibility and takes an incredible amount of dedication and commitment (from both mom and dad). Unless you’re relatively stable in life, it’s not recommended that you have a kid.
- Make decisions beforehand (and stay consistent).
Have a parenting strategy. How are you going to raise your child? How will you discipline your child? How will you and your partner make decisions regarding the future of your child? Be consistent with your decisions. There’s nothing more confusing to a kid than a sporadic parenting regime.
- Play with your kid.
Quality time is vital to a child’s development. Go out of your way to spend time with your kid. Find common interests. Work together, play sports, schedule activities, and have father-child dates.
As I mentioned before, this is a conjectural discussion. While I may have no personal experience being a dad, I’ve observed many families over the past 19 years. But besides mere observations, I’ve had a pretty amazing dad myself. In fact, I could never wish for a more incredible father. He’s talented, intelligent, hilarious, passionate, honest, kind… (and the list goes on forever). He’s been a perpetual support, inspiration, and encouragement to me since the day I was born.
So to all you future fathers, if you ever need a good role model, just come spend a few weeks at my house and learn from the best—my dad.
And to all the dad’s out there—Happy Father’s Day! I hope your day is amazing!