Dads do things that mere fathers don’t do. They have a purpose that no one else can do as well as they can. Mothers will always be thought of as the most involved parent. Mothers are usually the backbone of the family. But that backbone requires a supporting structure! Lest I forget to mention, some dads are the backbone of their families by necessity or choice which also works - with the support of the mother.
So what is that dads do that no one else can do as well?
When kids are small:
When their children are small, dads kiss ‘owies’ to make them better. Dads snuggle a little more tightly. They find time to spend with their kids, even when other voices are calling. Dads get on the floor to play with toy trucks, or sit on tiny chairs when invited to a very special tea party. Dads carry you on their shoulders and throw you in the air ignoring moms’ plea, “Don’t do that!” When dads give hugs it’s usually without words - and none are necessary. When they read to you, dads make scary monsters sound scarier and heroes seem stronger. Dads hold you when you’re sick, when you’re scared, and when you crawl into their lap just because it feels so good. Dads fix things you break, find things you lose, and hide things that could hurt you. And after you go to sleep, dads will peek through the door to see if you are okay…and smile ever so slightly.
When they are growing:
As their children grow, dads stay very involved! They know the names of friends and their parents. Dads give pats on the back or verbal kicks in the rear, both for encouragement. They love coaching their kids and/or going to concerts, school plays, and games. When learning to ride a bike, dads exhaust themselves running by your side, holding onto your bike – or pretending to. Dads will praise honest effort but condemn any sign of laziness. They know that one kid may have to be pushed into things while an adventurous sibling may have to be restrained a bit. Dads are also experts at surprises and fun stuff. New experiences, stimulating adventures, road trips, backyard camping, all these things and more will be in a dad’s bailiwick. And very importantly, dads tell their children why birds chirp and bees buzz because all kids need to know about the birds and the bees.
When they approach adulthood:
Dads help you buy your first car. They bail you out of trouble - then make you wish they hadn’t. More than moms, dads stand back to see if you can stand on your own. They trust you if you have earned their trust, but they also verify what you say and do for your own safety and well-being. They listen to your excuses, complaints, woes, dreams, etc. and try to help, sometimes by not getting involved. Dads teach possibilities, vision, gratitude, and respect. Occasionally, dads give in to their kids, but they never give up on them. Dads hope to be examples of male behavior for their sons, and an example of how to be treated for their daughters. They are the rock children need, the support moms crave, and the glare when mistakes are made. They peek through the blinds as you drive off, especially when daughters go out on dates. Lastly, Dads live vicariously through their sons as they progress, and walk with pride, and often a tear, as they walk their daughters down the aisle.
Fathers miss out on so much when they fail to become an involved dad. But more so, children miss out terribly without the guidance of a dad. When dads make mistakes, and they do, they try to learn from them. Moms can help dads when mistakes are made just as dads can help moms when they make mistakes. Dads are the balance to the mother as another ear, another voice, and the completion to a whole family. Mothers get more rest, more time to themselves, and more help allowing them to be better parents themselves. Dads are superheroes, then nuisances, then trusted voices. Young people need their love. That’s what dads do! That's what dads are for!
Author of: The Power of Dadhood: How to Become the Father Your Child Needs