Becoming a father is the easy part. Becoming a dad is another whole thing. As soon as that baby pops out – tada! Not only is a baby born, but so is a father. For some, it stops there. But for others, now that they are a father, they want to become a dad too. So with wholehearted effort, they take on the pursuit of “dadship” and study to learn what it means to be an awesome dad.
Dads are committed. They spend as much time as possible and create time when it’s not possible, so they can be there.
Dads listen. It doesn’t matter if it’s not important, if it’s silly, if it’s painful, if it’s way outside the limits of their imagination; they listen anyway. They know that beneath what is said is a soul that is being formed that will house the foundation upon which all future decisions will be made, and they want to help build that foundation to be strong, good, and lasting. As long as their child is talking, the door is open for them to continue to build that foundation.
Dads get on the floor. That’s where it all starts. At the level the little guy or gal exists at. Lots of bonding takes place on the floor when you give horsey rides, play tickle trap, have hotwheel races, build lego treehouses, and become all the animals on Old MacDonald’s farm. Play with them when they’re little and you’ll be the first they come to when they get older.
Dads believe. It doesn’t matter what mistake was made, what wrong was done, what failure just occurred – dads always believe that one day their child will be great. And they aren’t afraid to tell them that over and over and over.
Dads discipline. They know the difference between authority and authoritarian and they practice the first with consistency. Authority includes serving others to help them become all they are meant to be. Authoritarians serve themselves and take what makes them all they want to be. Authority draws the lines and makes the boundaries clear, and when the toe goes over the line, dads aren’t afraid to exercise proper authority and discipline to train their child in what is right.
Dads teach life skills. They do jobs with their child – change a tire, fix the sink, do the laundry (yeah – I said laundry!), repair the bike, balance the checkbook, use the tools in the toolbox, etc. They know that these basic skills can be the difference between success and failure in the future.
Dads say I’m sorry. They know they don’t always do everything right and that their child knows it too – so they go ahead and ask forgiveness, and by doing so, keep that door open for more listening and more training.
Dads get on their knees. When they don’t know what to do, when they have no answer, when they’ve done all they can possibly think of – they aren’t afraid to ask God for help. Dads understand they have been given a precious gift to steward for a short while, along with authority to do so, by a higher Authority who has the right answers.
Dads who do these things are dads who love. Love is not love unless it is accompanied by action. Love is a verb, not just a feeling. Let’s honor the dads out there today who have chosen to be far more than just fathers. Who have sacrificed personal goals, promotions, prestige, and popularity just so they they could pursue ‘dadship’. Dadship is cool. In fact – it’s the most rewarding thing in their whole entire life. And when their child, no matter what age, tells them thank you, it makes them want to do even better at it. Don’t let today pass without a heartfelt hug and words of gratefulness.