Being a dad is a demanding job. From the moment they’re born, you have been responsible for so many things. For making sure they eat, for making sure they are learning, for making sure they are safe, for making sure they are having fun. You work hard to provide for them. To teach them right from wrong. You see other parents doing these things…and other things. Or doing things very differently.
It’s tough to know. What do your kids really need? What must a father do? What’s essential? What’s optional? There’s no easy answer, but in 2008 President Barack Obama came close to capturing one in a Father’s Day speech about what our kids really need and want from us.
“Our kids are pretty smart,” he said. “They understand that life won’t always be perfect, that sometimes, the road gets rough, that even great parents don’t get everything right. But more than anything, they just want us to be a part of their lives…In the end, that’s what being a parent is all about — those precious moments with our children that fill us with pride and excitement for their future; the chances we have to set an example or offer a piece of advice; the opportunities to just be there and show them that we love them.”
That’s your job, above all others. To be a part of their life—a positive part. They need you to be there. To give advice. To be a good example. To understand them and to love them.
Everything else is extra.