What a good father will do:

It’s Father’s Day, a day to celebrate dads! Some of us are fortunate enough to have been raised in a 2-parent home with loving dads, while others were not. Some of us felt the security of having a father around while others were raised by single mothers. Many children will grow up not being able to depend on a man , yet always wanting their love and attention. If you are an adult, then you may realize the importance of having a positive male figure in your life.

A good dad will make you feel loved, make you feel special, make you feel secure, and make you who are you are! Today, we celebrate those guys!

To the guys are who are more than just fathers- they are dads or daddies. We celebrate the dads who choose to become a father, and knew it would be a life-long dedication. We are grateful for those guys who jumped right in to change those diapers and wanted to give that late-night bottle. We love those daddies who played patty-cat, sang nursery rhymes, and read with their kids. We applaud those men who choose to stay in with their family on the weekend instead of hitting the bars. We love those dads who coach their baseball teams, show up to every game, and celebrate trying and not just succeeding. These guys are the real-deal.

These dads are shaping the future of this country by providing a confidence and security in their children that can’t be bought. It can’t be faked either. Children feel this genuine love and it pays off in shaping their personality, their trust in others, and in their interests and motivations. Good dads are important, but not as common as they need to be.

I can think of every child I work with at one of my schools, one of my low-income schools, and every single one of the children I meet with individually for counseling more than twice a month are living without a father. This is no exaggeration, and a factor I didn’t initially notice. But, over time, I have realized, especially this year, that the most unbalanced, disturbed, or just emotional and unstable children are lacking a consistent father figure.

Now, some of these children do actually know who their fathers are but may rarely see them. These type of dads are the worst, I think. It’s one thing to have passed away (which, of course, is always so tragic and painful) but it’s worse on children’s psyche if they know their dad is around somewhere and they just don’t care enough to show up or keep their promises. Again and again, children are disappointed and deeply hurt when these fathers don’t show their children they were wanted or a priority. To often, these fathers have moved on to their next girlfriend and/or children. It’s so hurtful and damaging.

Then, there are the fathers who are incarcerated. Growing up without being able to see your father and knowing they’re in prison or in and out of jail is just so dysfunctional. Yet, for many kids, it’s their norm. I had one small group this year (of third grade boys who were referred for their behavior) in which every boy had a father or stepfather in jail, or who’s been in jail recently. That’s their norm. That’s the modeling they have.

And, if parents do get divorced, which sometimes is the best thing to do, it only works if both parents continue to be involved and dedicated. When parents separate and form new families with new babies, it can be very hurtful and unsettling for children in they’re not included in this new family. Fathers have to continue to be involved even if they’re not living in the same household.

So, when there are fathers who are actually showing up to be DADs everyday….Wow! We are blessed. To those dads, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY. It takes more than creating a baby to be a good father. Thank you, BO HAMILTON, for being a great dad to our children. We love you very much!

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