I have met fathers who I thought were going to be great daddies, who didn't live up to that expectation. I've also met lots of others that could compete for Father of the Year.
Recently one of my cousins posted a "not so pretty" post about life with their father, my uncle; my dad's brother. It made me wonder how two brothers could grow up to be totally different fathers.
My dad was terrific. He taught me how to fish, how to hunt for night crawlers and bag worms, how to bait my own hook and get the fish off, how to plant a garden, how to sing, how to be warm and funny.
He had his faults, too. He could have a bad temper, he could hold a grudge, he was stubborn and intolerant of people who were different than him. But he was a good dad.
All of that leads me to the this advice to all dads:
*Go to their baseball games and dance recitals.
*Praise them when they deserve it. Enforce the consequences when they do wrong.
*Mean what you say and follow through.
*Read to them.
*Take them for ice cream, just the two of you. Do that with each of your kids.
*Be kind to their mother no matter the circumstances.
*If you are married or in a relationship with their mother, do everything you can to let them see how a good husband behaves. If you are no longer together, show them how a good Man behaves.
*Never argue in front of your kids or bring kids into adult matters.
*Hug them and tell them that you love them - many times, every day.
*If you and their mother cannot be together, you still have to parent together. Never speak badly about your ex in front of your children.
*Never leave your child's life. No matter how tough the ex can be.
*Keep your promises - kid's don't forget.
In the end, kids will not care what kind of car you drive, how big your house is or how much money you make. What they will care about is the memories you create for them.
So Happy Father's Day to the Dad's of all of "my kids". Enjoy the neckties, hand prints, macaroni necklaces and artwork made just for you. After all, these are going to be your memories, too. Make them great!
Kenny and Dolly's Daughter
Tom and Leroy's Sister