Father’s Day: What It Really Takes to Be a Good Parent
Parenting is hard. It’s especially hard in today’s era because there are far too many parenting tips and resources out there. I’ve contributed to that noise in my own quest to figure out the best parenting strategies that work for my family. I pursue the answers to: What’s the best way to deal with toddler temper tantrums? And, what’s the right balance of extracurricular activities for our school ager?
But the hardest thing is that nobody is out there telling my husband and I if we’re doing parenting right and what it really takes to be a good parent. How do I know if our parenting style is going to send our children to therapy later in life or lead them to a life of rebellion and debauchery? Maybe we really are “mean parents” for making our daughter eat three pieces of broccoli and she’s forever going to hate vegetables because of our dinner rules. Or perhaps it really isn’t “fair” of us that our toddler can’t watch three hours of television and will pay us back by becoming a habitual gamer.
When on the rare occasion that we get insight from our kids about how we’re doing at our parenting job, it’s a cause for celebration (and maybe some bragging rights!). On behalf of my husband, I am about to do just that – brag.
For Father’s Day, a local paper is running a “Best Dad” contest. Kids are encouraged to write in 50 words or less why their dad rocks. All entries are entered into a drawing to win free ice cream from our favorite local ice cream stand. It’s a drawing so anybody can win but, after reading what Olivia (age 7) wrote about her dad, my husband already won.
My dad is the best dad because he is very very very funny. He is also very nice and sweet. When I am sad he comforts me and makes me happy again. Then he takes me to amazing places everywhere. And that is why my dad is the best dad in the world!”
If you asked me or my husband to guess how Olivia would describe why her dad is the best, I’m not sure we would have mentioned any of the above. There is something to learn about what it really takes to be a good parent from her simple “less than 50 word” essay. No matter what parenting strategies we use or how “mean” we are in a given moment, a good parent is simply one who loves and supports their children. And it doesn’t hurt to take them places.
Happy Father’s Day, Brian!