I briefly struggled with the title for this post. I'm not a big fan of the words "good" and "bad" when it comes to labeling parenting and other roles people take on in their lives. I think I do that out of political correctness more than anything else. The reality is, when evaluating my parents, bosses, friends, local officials etc., I inevitably, at least initially, judge them as good or bad at the role they play in my life. I wouldn't be surprised if many of you do the same thing. Sometimes I dig deeper for the reasons I assign them those general grades. Usually not.
The reason for discussing it at all is I'm starting a project about good dads. Before I go any further, a few disclaimers.
Not all kids we would generally agree to be good kids have what we would generally agree to be good dads. Not all bad kids have bad dads. Likewise, there are no guarantees associated with being a good dad. As much as I believe it greatly increases some odds, there are no guarantees. And finally, I'm a dad, which probably has a lot to do with why my project is about dads. One of the things I'm sure of as a dad, though, is no matter how good I am at my role, I'm not nearly as good at it without a good mom by my side. Shoot, who am I kidding. I would be downright awful. So please never interpret my passion for the role dads play in their child's life as minimizing the role moms play.
Here's what I want to achieve with this post, and in greater detail, with my project. As narrowly as possible, I want to define what good dads DO. I'm looking for 1-word verbs. For example, one I came up with on my first quick list was: "discipline". Now, I understand there might be a further discussion about good and bad or effective and ineffective discipline, but for the purpose of this exercise, we're going to assume the verbs you assign are done with good intentions and contribute to your idea of a good dad. Also, some of my initials verbs were confusing without an object. For example, "trust". It's pretty important to the meaning of that verb to know I trust God, so feel free to use two words if that helps, but one must be a verb.
You don't have to be a dad to provide feedback. In fact, some non-dads might provide the most meaningful insights. Moms often have strong ideas about the kinds of dads they want as partners. And although some of us might not be dads, we all had or have one, and we have thoughts as to what makes or made them a positive or negative influence in our lives. Maybe you're a kid, old or young, who wishes your dad would have done some things differently. Maybe your grateful for something he's doing.
I can't overstate how much I value your thoughts. I'm seeking them for one reason. I don't have a complete understanding - some days not even a clue - of what a good dad does. But I do believe together we all might. We can at least come close. It's my dream to one day turn some kids who are wishing their dads would do certain things into kids who celebrate the things their dads are doing.
Thank you ahead of time for any time you devote to providing me feedback in the form below. Don't spend a lot of time on it; I frankly want to know the things that come easiest to your mind. They are likely the biggies! Also, I have no way of identifying where the responses come from, to the degree that matters to you. All responses go to my personal email and won't appear on this website. At some future date, though, I will post a summary of the responses and talk a little more about my vision.