That’s the issue regarding convincing a man to read a book about being a better dad to a father who doesn’t think he needs any help. Men read books that expand their vocabulary on sports, guns, transportation (cars, trains, airplanes, etc.) and sometimes history, especially westerns and war. But ‘parenting books and fathers’ is not a combination of words you’ll find too often. On the other hand, a ‘parenting books and moms’ search would break the Internet!
Listen to what I have to say...You don’t know what you don’t know about parenting! There are tons of things about being a father that I don't know--and I wrote a book about fatherhood. To assume you’re the best you can be for your kids is cheating them.
Men do look for help on some things--hobbies or sports for instance. Men look for an edge in competition. We want to be the best in whatever we are involved in, that is, if we are competing with friends either formally or informally about a common interest. You could be a collector, hunter, runner, golfer, car guy, sports nut, or hobbyist and you will want to be respected for it. But when it comes to being a dad, you still want to be respected, but you don't care to work at it. It's not a competitive sport.
There isn’t any competition in Dadhood, nor should there be. You’re not competing as a father. That would be like a horse running a race by itself. You are it! Your kids have only one father and you should want to be the best one there is. Not the most likeable dad, nor the wittiest, nor the most athletic. You want to be the best at having principles, being consistent, being involved, loving, with lots of fun thrown in for good measure. Many, if not most fathers, think they are pretty good at dad stuff, and if they haven’t been involved too much lately, or not been consistent--they’ll get there, eventually. No you won’t! Not without a conscious effort, some admissions, and some guidance.
Let’s say there is a blog post on the Internet, the title of which is, “Nine Articles to Help You (Macho Man) Improve”. If statistics were kept for the most popular, or the most read articles, which of these articles would pique the interest of the most men?
- Ten Kinds of Beer Steins
- Less Strokes for Golf Folks
- Archers Teach You How to Pull Strings
- Seven Secrets to Bagging a Turkey
- Fantasizing About Fantasy Football
- Hot Mods for Hot Rods
- Makeup for Men is Okay—If It’s Camo!
- Getting Dirty to Look Like You Were Hunting
- How to be the Father Your Child Needs
I’m hoping the least popular would be either “Ten Kinds of Beer Steins” or “Makeup for Men…” But many men would pass on the ‘Father’ article for a couple reasons.
1) It doesn’t sound interesting or sexy.
2) You think you are a damn good dad already.
There is third reason--you just don't care about being involved with your kids. I'm not sure what to say to the likes of you!
Maybe parenting is a little duller than “Less Strokes for Golf Folks”, but it is WAY MORE IMPORTANT--even if your name is Tiger, “Stormin’ Norman”, or Vijay Singh!
Maybe you are a good dad and don't need a conversation on the topic. Don’t take that for granted. How do you know if you haven’t read, “Power Dads” by Wayne Parker, or "Critical Connection" by Andy Kerckhoff, or my book “The Power of Dadhood”, or many other books on the topic of dads and parenting? These books have principles you can think about or checklists to compare how you father. Don’t be afraid you will find out something you don’t want to know. Be excited that you can possibly, and likely, learn something new! Something that may help your children, the most important people on earth to you!
If men took parenting as seriously as they take sports or politics, and especially if they took parenting as seriously as mothers, the children in this world would be far better off. Also, they would have learned from you and passed good parenting techniques on to your grandchildren!
A few generations of good moms and dads, and hey, we just might make the world a better place!
Come on, do it! Get better!