There is no way around this dilemma! It is not against the law to have babies and we cannot force their parents to raise them a certain way, nor should we. It is up to the parents to be responsible, which most are. But being responsible is not always enough. Uncle Joe is very responsible as is neighbor Francine. Neither are out to deceive, but their inexperience could damage us financially or orally.
Instincts are what save most parents. But is that enough? Is that what you want for your children? Not everyone has good instincts and there are necessary parental tasks that don’t rely on instinct alone. My personal belief is that mothers have more parenting instinct than fathers—of course with many exceptions. I assume maternal instinct comes with carrying a baby to birth or the fact that mothers generally spend more time with their children. I respect those that disagree, but if I am correct, fathers need even more help in parenting. Equal instincts or not, fathers are missing from their families much more so than mothers--not just physically, but emotionally. So what about recognizing exceptional fathers as “professional”? And how do they get this designation?
I developed a checklist which goes into depth asking paternal parenting questions. It’s a way a dad can judge his own skills, thoughts, and/or habits of being a father. You don’t come away with a score. You come away with knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses as a dad.
But if I had to reduce the ‘Professional Father’ requirements to three important criteria. It would be these.
1. Are you there for your children when needed or appropriate?
2. Do you have high standards that you teach and enforce?
3. Are you loving towards your children?
Being there when needed assumes you take action on your own to be aware of special events and celebrations, of your children’s needs, their times of sorrow and/or fear, or the one-on-one time they often crave.
Having high standards is crucial in raising and mentoring children. Rules, consequences, consistency, patience, and nurturing are standards that must be discussed and agreed to with their mother.
Kids crave love more than food according to a quote from Mother Theresa. Love gives a child a feeling of belonging, acceptance, and self-worth. Without those values, any child will struggle.
When you fulfill these three criteria, you are not an amateur father, you are a highly paid professional-- not paid in dollars, but paid in love, pride, and the accomplishments of your children. And by the way, the preferred abbreviation for professional father is…Dad!