The Word Earned

Boys can make babies. It takes a man to raise them.
Oprah Winfrey
Dad. Really sounds like a simple word as it gets thrown around and stuck on every kind of cheap coffee mug, preceded with the phrase “World’s Greatest.” But is it really that simple? As the world changes, so has the image we expect from ourselves as Dads. No longer are we willing to accept our role as a simple provider or are we willing to be that bumbling idiot or the babysitter when mom’s not around. Now we are a parent, doing parent things with our own dad flare. So if you are expecting to receive that coffee mug, you damn better take action to earn that prefix before the word Dad.

How do you do that?

By realizing that fatherhood isn’t a label attached thanks to having children. It comes attached with the actions you take because you have kids.

It’s not about being able to buy them a bike, but taking the time to teach them how to ride it. It’s about taking the time to read them a bed time story when all you want to do is go to bed yourself. It’s about all the games you don’t miss and the plays you attend instead of the lessons you paid for. It’s about all the homework and school you do together and not about all the tutor fees you can pay. It’s not about being able to post magazine worthy images of your kids in social media, but about living a storybook worthy life with your kids.

It’s about that costume you made or the fieldtrip chaperoning you did. It’s about understanding that bad grades and bad behavior isn’t a sign of a bad kid, but a call for help about some other issue. It’s about willing to look for answers and understanding instead of worrying what will the neighbors think. It’s about putting aside whatever issue you have with the child’s mother as you place priority on the child. It’s about willing to drop everything and relocate if needed to make sure the kid has a better chance at life. It’s about making sure you talk WITH them, not TO them.

Do any of these actions guarantee a “good” kid? No, but it sure improves their chances.

And that is what being a Dad is all about. It’s about giving your kid a chance to be a better man or woman in a world bent on breaking them. It’s about letting them know that no matter what, they can count on you. It’s about letting them know that even if they don’t yet believe in themselves yet, you do.

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