4 Good Reasons To Be a Great Dad
It's well documented that dads play a crucial role in families - everyone benefits when there is an engaged and present fatherly presence. Kids are less likely to fall into drug-abuse, teenage pregnancy or crime and are more likely to finish higher levels of education and employment, while mothers are more likely to be better employed with lower levels of mental health issues.
So yeah, dads are important.
But what about the dads themselves? We go on and on about the positive benefits of a present dad for everyone else, but are any benefits to the dads themselves? I would argue that there are at least four:
Knowing that you have done something useful with your time is a wonderful feeling. And what better thing can you do than ensuring that the next generation are cared for, trained well, and ready to make the world just that little bit better? The great thing about being a dad is that even if everything else is going wrong in your life, the investment of time and energy in your kids always pays off...eventually.
I've had days when I've been really down, and discovered that the best pick me up is to really focus on making sure that my boys end the day well.
To be fair, you're whole self-esteem shouldn't be based on your parenting, because you will stuff that up at some point too. But it is a good place to start.
Encouragement to be active
I'm assuming that as your kids get older they eventually need less physical attention. That has not been true for the last 8 years for me and my boys. From birth, they required constant bouncing, lifting and moving. As they got older, they wanted more physical play - not just kicking a ball around, but also running and jumping and wrestling.
This has meant that I've had to get off my butt at the end of long day sitting in front of this computer and, instead of migrating to the couch, I've had to actually do something active. This would not be my first choice, being the lazy sod that I am, but since I want to be a good dad I have to step up.
Being an engaged dad means that you are a physically active dad and according to my medical aid, being more physical leads to better health.
More Focus more during work
Look, being a good parent is all about providing for your children financially...but in this world it is a huge aspect of it. This is especially true for dads - my hope is that this will change as we move away from patriarchal family structures, but the reality is there is still a substantial expectation for dads to be the "providers" of the home.
This does have one good result for someone like me though: focus.
If I want to be a good dad, I need to provide for my kids, which means I need to work, which means I need to be a good employee. If I didn't have a family that depended on my salary, I'm not sure if I would have learned the skills that are needed to graft through work.
I have those now, and much of my professional success have been a result. So yes, being a dad has actually helped me professionally.
Better at Dealing with emotions
In my journey of fatherhood, I have discovered that children, especially young children, have this called "emotions". Now as a man, I didn't have many examples of "emotions" - I knew that anger is one, and happiness (when your team is winning) is another, but kids have so...many...emotions. I've had to come to terms that there is a spectrum of ways to feel about what is happening around you.
Since I want my children to know how to cope with all of that, I've had to learn how to first. And let me tell you - it's made my world so much better. It's like I was colour-blind and then put on one of those special glasses that helps you see how many colours there are for the first time.
How has being a present and engaged dad benefitted you?