This week on my radio show we honor dads. No matter what the culture tells you, dads play an important role in the healthy development of children. Too often the role of fathers is minimized or substituted. They cannot be replaced! So let’s look at how important fathers are and the many lessons we learn from them.

First, when fathers are involved in the lives of their children, every measure of child well-being improves. Educational achievement, cognitive development, self-esteem and prosocial behavior are all impacted in positive ways. Everything from staying out of jail to holding down a job after high school improves.

Healthy fathers serve as a protective factor against child abuse. They balance their partners and can take the burden off the other parent when stress mounts. They also provide economic support. And they serve as role models for their children. They teach their children how to respect their partner. Notice this is what HEALTHY fathers do.

Regardless of what you hear, dads play differently with their children. They take more risks and are much more physical. Often, you see a father allowing a child to become more frustrated and struggle with a task. This brings an eventual sense of self-mastery for the child.

And fathers bring an element of competition to play. This is not to say women aren’t competitive. I certainly am very competitive, but there is a striking difference in how I handle competition. I am much more concerned about the person’s well-being and won’t push the competitive advantage at times.

The fathers in my life (my dad and husband) pushed me and my children to be more independent and take chances. I needed that from my dad. And my husband has done the same for our children. My mom worried more about my independence while my dad promoted it.

So, this Father’s Day, think about a lesson you learned from your dad. Mine is this: my dad didn’t meet a person he didn’t want to know. He was always interested in people and made it a point to treat them with kindly.

Most important, my father lived out his faith in a Christ-like fashion. He acted rather than talked about faith. Church was always a priority. Tithing was a normal part of our finances. And serving in the church was a constant. He quietly served behind the scenes in the most mundane ways.

To my father, who is no longer with me, you provided me an eternal lesson of faith and modelled it well.  There were numerous lessons you taught me. Your constant presence and engagement in my life provided me security and safety and a healthy role model to choose my husband.

Happy Father’s Day

Lessons from Dad