Father Knows Best.  But does he? That depends on the person.  That depends on the man. June 15th marks Father’s Day this year, probably made up by the people over at Hallmark Cards, but it is certainly a worthwhile time to acknowledge the role of Dads.  A father can be created by mere biological events, where as a Dad means the man has a positive involvement in the child’s life. It certainly includes step-dads, grandparents and male role models.  What makes a good Dad?

Time is Flowing Like a River:  Both the quantity and quality of time spent with your children are important, and it doesn’t have to be a special or planned event.  But it does have to be consistent and ongoing. Children need consistency, from birth to teenager and beyond. That can be in the form of family meals, helping with homework, playing games, sharing interests or as simple as watching a ballgame together.  Both quality and quantity matter. Jon Leonetti said, “If you want to see what you really value in your life, look at how you spend your time”. Kids will notice if they are important. To put it simply: Be there. The breakdown of the nuclear family is at the center of most of our nation’s problems, and a diminished relationship with the Dad are too often a byproduct.  Spending ordinary moments with your children are the foundation of those relationships, and those relationships matter, both for the child and the parents.

Basic Instinct:  At our core as humans, there are certain parental instincts that transcend race, age and economic status.  It is important for fathers to provide and protect. Being a provider is more than financial, although that is important.  It also includes providing a stable home, emotional and spiritual support, and preparing them for this modern world. Technology has changed the world since I was a kid, some for the better, but many things for the worse.  Bad decisions in my day didn’t live forever on someone’s social media account. Today, kids have it tougher and a dad should be proactive in protecting their child from the evils of this world, and preparing them to deal with whatever comes their way.  Many fathers are immature themselves, but you owe it to your kids to grow up so you can help them grow up. All kids need protection, not because they are defenseless, but because they need to know that their Dad will be there to protect them They need to know that their Dad sees them as precious.

No friend Zone:  An important job of both parents is to teach your child right from wrong.  In this heated political climate, many don’t agree on what is right vs. wrong, but your child needs to be taught your values.  Yes, you want your child to think for themselves, but their Dad needs guide them in the right direction. I sure don’t want that job left to social media sites, pop music stars, celebrities or what’s trending on Twitter.  A Dad needs to guide his kids on what to do, what not to do, how to make good decisions, take responsibility for their actions, and encourage their child to become the best version of themselves. In other words, prepare them for adulthood.   It is not easy, and frequently unpopular with your child. You can’t do that by being their friend, you do that by being their parent.

There is a lot of political talk about “privilege” in a negative context.  But the privilege of having a great Dad (and Mom) is something society should want for all kids.  I do, and I am grateful. It definitely makes the world a better place.