That title, though… arrogant much? Hang with me. I’m going somewhere and I promise it’s not about me. It’s about him. It’s about us. It’s about together.
I’m not being arrogant here when I say I’m a good mom. I feel that it’s okay to be good at something. It just so happens that being a mom is one of the very few things I do really well so I never mind saying that. It is my natural bent to get inside the heads and hearts of my kids and intuitively know their needs – for the most part.
Something we all know is that a father can’t be a father without someone being the mother. And you’re thinking to yourself, “Thank you, Captain Obvious!” Something you don’t know is that pretty much all I ever wanted to be was a mother. Well, I wanted to be a mom and a secretary but secretary comes with the mom position so I lucked out. I wanted to save myself for marriage so before going to the hospital to birth a child I would be needing to walk down the aisle of a church. Thankfully God provided someone for me who I wanted to marry and who wanted to marry me regardless of the kid factor.
I always wanted to be a mom. My husband did tell me that he did think about being a dad before we got married but it wasn’t as present a thought as it was with me. He was good with kids. When we first met and were just friends I called him a kid magnet. This was one of the first things about him that caught my heart. In our circle of friends, he was famous for saying “I’m not getting married ’til I’m rich or 40.” Well, we got married at 21 and we’ve both surpassed 40. As for the rich part? Rich is in the eye of the beholder so he very well may have accomplished that part. I’d say he has but I should probably let him answer for himself on that one.
So here’s the honest bit that I’m embarrassed to confess. This little tidbit has stayed super safe in the recesses of my heart and mind because honesty can sometimes hurt. But I think it can also help me and maybe someone else so I’m spilling it.
Over the years, not always but sometimes, I have resented my husband for getting credit for being a good dad. There… it’s out. Phew.
Not only have I at times resented him for getting credit, I have even taken the credit for his good dad’ness at times. Not in anyone else’s earshot, of course (because that would be embarrassing (read: sarcasm), but I have voiced my frustrations to him before so he knows this. It sounds so petty, right? It sounded petty when I told him too. My guess is that I’m not alone in my petty arrogance. I think part of why I thought this was because most moms just don’t get enough credit for the hard work we do and we get very tired and selfish as a result. You heard me say selfish, right? Good. Because seriously, do we give dad’s the credit for what they do?
What, exactly, does a dad do? So glad you asked.
I’m not sure what would be on your “what a good dad does” list but as I think of the father of my children, here are some qualities that quickly rise to the top:
A good dad provides.
It is at the top of my husband’s list to provide for his family. It was at the top of the list for my dad as well. My husband chose to get married. When we got married both of us knew kids were a possibility. He came into marriage knowing he would want to provide for his family. He has mentioned before how much this scares him. It’s a huge responsibility and he realizes that. He has more than conquered this area and provides so well for our family. No matter what roles we play in our individual families, I believe it is inherently built into a man to provide. It’s in his DNA.
What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
A good dad tries (and a good mom lets him).
Although my parenting intuition may be stronger than his, he’s still a good dad. This business of “I want you to read my mind and know what to do.” is nonsensical and it just won’t work. Believe me, I’ve tried. Ask them kindly for the help you know you need. Chances are you’ll be surprised at how much he really does want to help. And chances are you’ll be blown away at how good he is at it. So often dad’s feel like they can’t be good enough for us so they just quit trying. What if we give them a chance to try? What if they succeed? I know it can happen for I’ve seen it with my own two eyes. When I let go of my arrogance and let him share parenting with me we all benefit. (Maybe that should have been a “we” sentence?) For some men, it’s not as much about being a father as it is about becoming a dad. All of life is about becoming. Let’s share in the trying. Let’s share in the succeeding.
A good dad is trustworthy.
In Bob Goff’s book, Love Does,. he talks about going on adventures with his kids he said something like, and I loosely quote, “You don’t have to know everything about someone to trust them.”. Just like we can’t possibly know all there is to know about God yet we still have reason to trust Him, our kids don’t need to know all there is to know about their dad to trust him. Trust is an issue for me. It’s no secret that I like to be in control. I like to know the plan and I like to know the outcome. Handing over the reigns of parenting my kids to someone else, even their dad, is tough for me. Trust is built on relationship and consistent experiences that prove someone trustworthy. Not without bobbles, but that’s where grace comes in.
A good dad leads well.
He may not always know how but he is willing to try. I think God blesses the trying and covers inadequacies with His grace. Leading well looks like discipline and humility. Leading well looks like asking for forgiveness. A dad leading well looks like a man who is led first by his Father.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
A good dad lets go.
It is much more common for moms to wax on about how hard it is to let go of our kids but it is hard for dads too. They can watch their arrow fly and feel a sense of accomplishment but they also feel a sense of loss. They don’t feel it the same way as moms do but they feel it strong. They’re not heartless after all. They may not show it as much or talk about it as much but most men don’t show emotions or talk as much as we women do anyway. I’ve watched my husband release two of our kids so far and the third is not far behind. Those arms that threw them up in the air for them to freefall back into his arms… those arms that pushed them higher than their control freak mom ever would on a swing… those same strong arms that kept them safe releases the arrow and can no longer protect them. But he’s a good dad so he lets go.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.
Giving credit where credit is due… It is true that he wouldn’t be a good dad without me but it’s also true that I wouldn’t be a good mom without him.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.
To my husband and the father of our children, to the one who helped me become a mom… Thank you for being a good dad. Thank you for being a better dad with me. Thank you for partnering with me in this parenting gig. We make a good team. We are better together. Happy Father’s Day!
To all fathers out there, my prayer for you is that you’ll keep trying. I pray you all feel encouraged today in how important your role is in the life of your children. I pray that you so strongly know the love of your heavenly Father that being a good dad just comes out of the overflow. I pray that the moms in your life partner with you and give you the chance to be a good dad. I pray that you will rise to the occasion.
May your Father’s Day be happy!
This #FridayFive is brought to you by Mrs. Disciple’s #FridayFive Link Up over at Mrs. Disciple . The prompt this week was “Dad”. I think she intended for the prompt to be a random collection of five things of our choosing but I took the prompt literally. Go check out Kelly’s great post
and visit a few others links from bloggers who have shared their thoughts on dadhood. Be sure to leave a comment. Comments are bloggers love language. We write what we want to say but we also love to read what you want to say.