June 18th, 2012 at 6:00 am
Most of us guys understand that whatever we’re building – the right set of tools makes all the difference. The same is true in building our families. The right fatherhood tools make all the difference.
I’ve studied fatherhood on five continents and raised four great kids with my wife of 23 years (and yes, she does deserve all the credit). And I’ve learned that we dads can master the Ten Tools of Fatherhood – if we practice. The tools form the acronym FATHERHOOD:
F – FAMILY FIRST/FAMILY FUN. This tool helps you prioritize time with your family – and ensures that it is (as much as possible) fun for everyone.
A – ALL IN MARRIAGE. The best gift you can give your wife and children is an unshakable commitment to your marriage and family.
T – TRUE MORAL COMPASS/TRUE HUMILITY. If you want your children to have the strong ethical/moral values they will need to navigate the future, they should see them in you first. And since we all make mistakes, it’s critical that they also see in us the willingness to ask forgiveness when we fall short.
H – HEARTFELT LOVE. One of the most important Fatherhood tools; without it your children will struggle to understand how truly special they are to you… and their Heavenly Father.
E – EMPOWERING SERVANT LEADERSHIP. Putting your wife and children’s needs above your own yields great fruit today and for generations to come.
R – RELATIONSHIP TOOLS THAT WORK. This is a weakness for most of us guys; most of us need to sharpen this Fatherhood tool.
H – HEAVEN’S HELP. To be the best earthly fathers we can be we need the help of our Heavenly Father. And He will help us, if we learn how to ask.
O – OTHER GOOD DADS. I’ve never met a successful “Lone Ranger” dad. Never. We all need friends, allies and mentors to help us on the Fatherhood Journey.
O – OPTIMISTIC, NEVER SURRENDER ATTITUDE. All families go through hard times, without exception. Those with fathers who have mastered this tool come out the other end – together.
D – DYNAMIC WHOLE PERSON SUPPORT. Providing financial support is important. But providing emotional, spiritual, physical and intellectual support is equally important.
Fatherhood is a lifelong journey and the most important job we will ever have. In mastering the Fatherhood Tool Set, we send a cascade of blessings down through the generations. And in the process we become the fathers, the husbands and the men our Heavenly Father always intended us to be.
By the Honorable Gregory W. Slayton. Gregory served as the U.S. Chief of Mission to Bermuda under Presidents Bush and Obama. He also grew up without a real father. He is the author of “Be a Better Dad Today: Ten Tools Every Father Needs.” To learn more about book and fatherhood initiative, visit www.beabetterdadtoday.com.
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