There’s no single how-to manual for being a good dad but five experienced fathers living at Parkview in Frisco, Texas are passing down sage advice as their Father’s Day gift to young dads.
Having finished raising their children decades ago, Ed Morrison, Howard Matson, Don Victorin, Bob Maggard and Robert Hamner are great dads who admit they might have done a few things differently had they known then what they know now. Here are words each of them offered about the most important aspects of being a good father.
“A boss of mine once said, ‘Success begins by showing up.’ It’s as true for you as a father as it is for you as an employee or an athletic team member. And it starts early,” said Ed Morrison, father of seven. He added, “Time spent with your child says ‘I love you. You are important to me. I care about who you are becoming.’”
To love your children seems like obvious advice, but what about times when they’re driving you crazy or behaving poorly? Do dads get a pass on loving kids then? Not according to Matson, who raised three children of his own. His advice in this department: “Love your children, no matter what.”
Evolve with Them
“A father’s role develops with that of the child,” offered Hamner. “The father’s expectations must evolve in accordance with a son or daughter’s capacities to handle the challenges of experience.”
Morrison told fathers, “Your material assets, like career, salary, investment portfolio, are the valuable measures of your life. But the crown jewel of your life’s assets is an intelligent, honest, loving child. Your investment in your child will pay lifelong dividends.”
Victorin, a father of three, emphasized the importance of financial management when he told today’s fathers, “Money, or lack thereof, is often the source of family problems. So my advice is to manage your money, don’t let it manage you.”
Enjoy Planned Family Time
Victorin also talked about the importance of family time and gave tips on family vacations in particular. “Be sure to use your annual vacations or motor trips to go to scenic spots where you can enjoy water sports or other outdoor activities.”
“Some dads begin by talking regularly to mom’s baby bump,” Morrison said. He told fathers, “You will be the largest and most consistent male figure in his/her life for the first seven years – the same seven years when your child is laying down the building blocks of character.”
Set an Example
Hamner said, “The relationship between a mother and a father presents the most immediate model for a child’s personal, social and spiritual development.”
Morrison told fathers, “The value of a handshake, a promise kept, a fair deal and a listening ear are most effectively taught by you. Don’t think they won’t understand. They are brighter than you think at all ages.” He reminded dads that children are always listening and watching.
Matson also emphasized the importance of setting an example for one’s children, highlighting the areas of showing respect for others, being responsible for all actions, being honest at all times, being charitable in comments and actions, and looking after others who can’t look after themselves.
All of the advice in the world won’t make someone a good father, but a dad’s commitment to being the best father he can be will go a long way. Will he be perfect? Never. Offers Hamner, “Mistakes are inevitable but fortunately for us, our offspring can draw valuable lessons from our foibles.”
Values to Live By
Maggard, a father of three, shared with fathers values he personally holds dear. “These are not my original thoughts, but I have tried to live by them. I have learned…that the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person. That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks. That sometimes all a person needs in life is a hand to hold and a heart to understand. That I should have told my mom and dad that I love them more than I did. That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile; it makes their day and yours, too. That everyone is gifted, but some never open their package.” (Source unknown).
With all of the competing demands placed on fathers, being a good dad is not easy. Ed Morrison, Howard Matson, Don Victorin, Bob Maggard and Robert Hamner hope that their hindsight might in some small way help today’s young fathers raise great kids and look back with no regrets.