As any Dad will tell you, the number one description of the feeling of ‘being Dad’ is Pride. The type of pride the mirrors the innocent unconditional love you receive from your children. The type of pride that never goes away and invokes many good emotions and fulfilment in life. The type of pride that makes you re-evaluate your life and whats important to you. However there is a lot more to this role. Its not just Dad jokes and off the cuff life lesson’s. If it was a ‘job description’ it would probably read along the lines of:
* Must have proven track record of being a good role model
* Be willing to protect and support
* Can do their best work, sleep deprived
* Have strong family values
* Understand the right from wrong
* Innate patience and tolerance
* Be a team player and see the bigger picture
* Provide security and future
* Have a dry sense of humour
All these are traits that seem to be traits of a good Dad. All things I certainly aspire to be to my family. I live and breath my kids future and think a lot about what I leave them when I pass. Not just financial security or foundations, but the life values they need to simply have to be a good person. A person that is loyal and respectful too everyone. But also not too soft that they get taken advantage of by those that have not had this installed. I think most of this can only be done by ‘monkey see, monkey do’. They look to their Mum and Dad to witness and learn how to treat others. If there are practiced family values in their routines and they can see loyalty and good-will surely this will be their norm. This is a massive part of the Dads role. The Dads role is very different from the Mums role and despite having the same responsibility to work on the same values, they have a different approach. I feel the Dad really needs to be strong in adversity to show what a family means when times are not so great. People sticking together at this time is a massive life lesson. Moreover, a Dads’s role is not just focused on the children it extends into being a partner. Its a different kind of partnership when you have children and being Dad is also about being a strong partner too. It can be a massive trial, testing all the romantic habits you have got used to and straining relationships. Being Dad is also about being a forgiving and strong partner. Then your kids really do witness first-hand respect, loyalty and basically how people should be treated.
This is all well and good and would recommend being a Dad to any good man. Its enriching and life changing. They make us better people. However what happened when it turns bad. When there is a split and the family unit is broken and full of hostilities? This a a real test. To not see your children every day like your used to is hard. To have the influence on their values and future taken away is frustrating. More heart wrenching of all is knowing that some other-bloke is going to come in a take your role as Dad! This is highlighted more when you have your child (which is amazing), then you have to give them back. They cry and don’t want to leave. You don’t know where they are going or what men they are around, but someone else is temporarily going to play my role of being Dad. That I can tell you is heart-wrenching. Its hard enough to be the all-round Dad I want to be be to my family as a whole, but with limited time and a hand tied behind my back. But as a loving Dad and partner how do you continue when someone else is gate-crashing your family and taking your spot? I actually don’t have the answer to this one. This is my struggle with Being Dad! Keeping my family together and impostors away is me defending them. To present the role model values I want to install is near as impossible as he can only see the total opposite and that kills me from inside.
‘Being Dad’ is great and a privilege, but it has a flip side too. As hard as it is ‘Being Dad’ when pushed out of your family, its nothing compared to having my role replaced in my family by a stranger knowing that every value they are witnessing are the wrong ones.