The National Fatherhood Institute (NFI), with the Alabama Family Alliance, offers a number of suggestions for how fathers can improve their skills:
1- Respect your children’s mother. If you are married, commit to keeping your marriage strong and vital. If you are not married, remain supportive and respectful of your children’s mother.
2- Spend time with your children. If children feel their father is not as thoughtful and concerned about them as he is about other interests, they feel they’re not as valuable to their father. Treasuring children often means sacrificing.
3- Earn the right to be heard. Often the only time a father speaks to his children is when they have done something wrong. Fathers need to build channels of communication early in life so that, when the time comes, dialogue about difficult subjects will be easier.
4- Discipline with a gentle spirit. Discipline is a function of a father’s love. Fathers should be calm and judicious, not hard-nosed or harsh.
5- Be a role model. A girl who spends time with her father knows what she should expect from men when she is older. A father can teach his son the value of self-restraint and hard work.
6- Be a teacher. A father should always be alert for everyday examples of lessons to teach his kids about life.
7- Eat together as a family.
8- Read to your children.
9- Show affection. Children long for a secure place in this fast-paced world. They find it most often in the warm embrace of a parent.
10-Realize that a father’s job is never done. A good father realizes that, while he allows his children the freedom to direct their own lives, he doesn’t abandon them at the dorm room, the wedding altar, or at the threshold of a first job.
(by Dan Davenport published in Better Homes and Gardens – June 1996.)
In his 1995 book, Fatherless America, David Blankenhorn cites anthropologist Margaret Mead’s observation that ‘the supreme test of any civilization is whether it can socialize men by teaching them to be fathers.’
“A good society celebrates the ideal of the man who puts his family first “
Scores of people like Wade Horn (NFI) believe that, when it comes to pulling a wobbly society to its feet, rebuilding the institution of fatherhood might be a cure-all.
There is a phrase called the “high-water mark”- which of course usually refers to water and its activity. However, we can also apply it to our society. Have any of you noticed that someone keeps erasing that high-water mark in our society? So each generation sinks lower and lower, never knowing or understanding how things were. I believe it is important to refer to ‘high-water marks’ in our society and it will often mean citing ‘older’ articles, such as this one. We need to do all we can to get our ‘high-water mark’ up to where it once was.