So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

I didn’t meet my dad when I was first born, because he was not there.

Not in the room, which was fairly normal back then. Because, the ’70s.

But also not in the country, which was somewhat normal back then. Because, the war.

My mom, my grandparents, and I were in a hospital room in Kalamazoo, Michigan, while my dad was in Vietnam.

Our father-daughter introduction happened when I was 8 months old, and he’s been making up for lost time with me ever since.

I could write an entire post about my dad as a dad. Over and over, he has given me an earthly glimpse of Abba—God as “Daddy.” To say I am grateful is inadequate and insufficient but also true, so I will say it: I’m so grateful my dad is my dad.

A couple of years ago, at a family baby shower, my dad passed along to my cousin (the would-be first-time father) a list of advice he had written for my brother at a similar stage of life. It was addressed from father to son, but my dad let me have a look at it, and right away, I asked if I could share it.

It was only a courtesy request, really. I was absolutely going to share it.

Thanks, Dad. I love you so much.

My Dad’s Wisdom On Parenting: Things He Did, Things He Wishes He’d Done

Children are not little adults; let your child be a kid.

Don’t have too many rules, especially when they’re little. They’re not going to remember them all anyway.

Pick your battles. It won’t work to make an issue out of everything your child does that you don’t like.

Don’t let mealtime become a battle zone. No child has ever starved to death yet because they didn’t eat everything on their plate.

Don’t micromanage your child’s behavior. It isn’t necessary (or productive in the long run) to try to control everything he or she says or does.

Kids cry. When they’re little, it means they need something. When they’re older, it probably means they’re frustrated about something.

Kids get tired. When they do, it’s usually futile to try to reason with them to get them to do what you want.

Don’t say things to your child that you would never dream of saying to someone else’s child.

Whatever stage your child is in, remember: this, too, shall pass, and they will move on to another stage. (This may be better or worse than the previous one!)

The greatest gift you can give your child besides your love is your time. Whenever possible, interrupt what you are doing to take time for them. Many things you need to do can be put off until later but many things your child does only happen once, and you don’t want to miss them.

Read to your child.

When your child starts talking, listen. What they say is important to them, and kids have great things to say.

Spend some time tucking your child into bed each night.

Find a church to help you raise your child. You need others to support you, and your child needs this to help establish a good foundation of values and truth. If he or she doesn’t get this early in life at home and in church, they might get it somewhere else that you may not like.

Take time every day to enjoy your child and relish this role God has blessed you with.

Originally published on the author’s blog.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also like:
Being a Dad is the Best Gig There Is
I Refuse To Be Just a Weekend Dad
I Talk to Your Teens All Day: Here’s What You Can Do Better

To the Stay At Home Mom From Your Husband: I See You

In: Fatherhood, Marriage

To the woman who sacrificed her comfort zone—leaving her family, friends, and everything she’d ever known—to follow her new husband across the country for his job: I see you. To the wife who pours herself into making a house her home, only to have to move again: I see you. To the wife who put her career, education, and personal pursuits on hold for the sake of her family: I see you. To the mom who went through pain and misery for nine months, only to have motherhood turn out to be nothing like she’d dreamed and longed for it...

Keep Reading

I Struggled With My Son’s Diagnosis, But Found Hope in the Special Needs Community

In: Fatherhood, Tough Times

When I found out I was going to be a father I was beyond excited. My wife and I had been trying to conceive for years before she got pregnant. So, when she told me I was going to be a father I wanted to shout it to the rooftops! I made sure to call my wife every day at work to make sure she ate lunch. I’m sure I annoyed the heck out of her. We later found out that we were having a boy, and started to plan everything. We started to paint the baby room with blues...

Keep Reading

My Son is Growing Up, But I’ll Hold On To the Pictures Forever

In: Fatherhood

A certain part of my heart longs for these moments to never change. I look back on pictures like this one, where my oldest son tastes the salty breeze on his lips for the first time, feeling the sand underneath his toes and laughing out loud at this wholly new experience. I look back and want to freeze it, but in something more than a single picture, more solid than a flimsy memory, more lifelike in substance than what a camera can fashion. RELATED: Stay With Me a Little Longer, Daddy Because that little person who could not stand without...

Keep Reading

I Want My Sons to See How Important It is to Cover Your Wife

In: Fatherhood, Marriage

Transparent moment—I did not always do the best job of covering my wife. Early in our marriage, I was often guilty of being selfish. Our first of four childbirths had contentious moments. From the whistle I jokingly wore on our first trip to the hospital while she was in labor, to me telling her in the midst of her frustration that if we didn’t have the baby that night, she could decide if she’d go into work the next day—I’m not proud of the way I handled some of the challenges. RELATED: 5 Ways To Love Your Wife After the...

Keep Reading

Dads: Your Kids Love Doing Things Because They Get to Do Them With You

In: Fatherhood

This piece was co-written with the author’s husband, Nathan Glenn. I remember my husband taking our daughter golfing for the first time and wondering if she’d enjoy it like he did. He’d dress our kids up in Pittsburgh gear, hoping they’d love the Steelers and Pirates and Penguins as much as he does. When we imagined our someday kids, he hoped he’d have someone that would want to play catch with him and go sit on the banks for hours fishing. Now here we are over a decade into this parenting three thing, and our oldest has her own clubs...

Keep Reading

This British Dad’s Parody of Orlando Bloom’s Daily Routine Has Us Cracking Up

In: Fatherhood

Two men on the same parenting journey see things a bit differently. Read to the end for this British dad’s hilarious take on what it’s like to be a father if you’re not a famous A-list celebrity. Ever since his cinematic debut as Legolas in the Lord of the Rings film series, celebrity actor Orlando Bloom has been capturing hearts around the world. Let’s be honest, we all know why our wives were so excited when Pirates of the Caribbean hit theatres. Outside of fantasy, there’s not much that makes Mr. Bloom relatable to the average Joe. However, parenthood tends...

Keep Reading

How My Husband Used a Classic Dad Move to Teach a Lesson in Gratitude

In: Fatherhood, Marriage

“Don’t make me pull this car over!” I bet you’re picturing your dad driving the family station wagon and shouting this over his shoulder at the peak of lost sanity while on a family trip. Or maybe fast forward, and it’s your own carload of kids! In the world of classic dad moves, this one might be boss. My husband pulled this move recently. Except, this cool cat put such a beautiful, modern, mindful dad twist on it. RELATED: Here’s to the Dads Who Keep Calm When Their Kids Are Losing it First came a long full day of family...

Keep Reading

My Arms Will Always Be Open For My Baby Girl When Life Gets Hard

In: Fatherhood

I’d intended to write a sweet, good-natured post to accompany this picture. I’d intended that post to exude the love I feel for my daughter and the happiness she brings to me each time she smiles. I’d intended to convey, in some small way, just how much joy she brings to our lives each and every day. And I’d hoped that this post would serve as a pleasant trigger point for these feelings whenever I looked back upon them in my increasingly fast-approaching dotage. Until . . . Until she spent this entire day crying. And crying. And crying. Until...

Keep Reading

Embrace the Grind and 4 Other Things I Want My Son to Know

In: Faith, Fatherhood

My youngest child, our son, turned 4 years old recently. I’m amazed at how much he mimics those around him. At this stage of development, he is easily influenced. He watches me, his mother, his sisters, his preschool teacher, and his peers very closely. He repeats what he sees in movies and on TV shows—even hilariously shouting at the top of his lungs, “I’m living alone! I’m living alone!” at a family gathering after watching Home Alone over the holidays. It has me thinking. These next few years could be very important to shaping the kind of person he will...

Keep Reading

Someday My Son Won’t Need Me Anymore, But I’ll Always Be There If He Does

In: Fatherhood

At the beginning, the world splays out in front of us, wide and open and always at least a little bit terrifying. The fear never really goes away as we age, but our world certainly seems to grow smaller over time. My boy is nearly three, with yet another demarcation point in his life coming up as his birthday month looms before us. He seems older already. His personality flexes and evolves on a daily basis, as he seeks to sort out his part in this life and as he strives for self-sufficiency and independence in all facets of living. He...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections