Happy Father's Day

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

As we prepare to celebrate Father’s Day this weekend, I want to talk about how the dads of today, grow and influence the dads of tomorrow.

Where does a man primarily learn his fathering skills? He learns them from his own dad. For better or worse, when a man becomes a dad, he will draw on his own experiences with his father in order to father his child. The tagline at Dads Inc. is “building generations of involved dads and thriving kids” for that reason – the way we father leaves a legacy for generations to come. That legacy can be either positive or negative. It is up to us – today’s dads, particularly those of us with sons – to mold the future generations of our family.

With his little eyes watching every move you make, it’s easy to think you’re going to mess up no matter how hard you try. And you will. We all do because there is no such thing as a perfect parent. Just get over that fear. What’s more important is how you handle those mess-ups. Did you admit your mistake and apologize or just ignore it and move on? Remember – his little eyes are watching. That is an essential lesson for a dad to teach his son.

Additionally, I see four other lessons that are essential for dads to take the lead in positively guiding his son to understanding.


Chivalry? Respect? Partnership? Your son is going to take your lead on treating women this way. Whether it is your wife, your ex-wife, your mom or a total stranger, the way you interact and engage with women is the standard for how your son will treat them. If you call his mom a “bitch” – to him women can be “bitches”. But if you call his mom your friend and partner, women will be his equal and he will respect them. And really, it’s not just women, but how to treat people in general. The Golden Rule is golden for a reason.


How’s that old nursery rhyme go? Girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice. Boys are made of snips and snails and puppy dog tails. So we think our sons should be a little rough and tumble, rambunctious and manly. This is all well and good, as long as “manly” means know how to control and deal with your emotions and being able to openly show affection. Dads, if you’re having violent or loud outbursts when you get mad, you are not setting the right example of how to control and properly deal with emotions. You need to show them that it is ok to cry, but it’s not ok to cuss and hit things or people. And if you’re not hugging and kissing those boys and telling them you love them every day, not only are you missing one of the most precious parts of fatherhood, you’re also instilling in them the belief that showing affection is not something men do.


I’m not necessarily only talking about church or religion here, though those are certainly two aspects of spiritual growth. I’m talking about teaching him to appreciate ideas and concepts larger than ourselves, about nature and our impact on it, about being in awe of the Universe and all the wonders it holds. If you don’t talk about it with him or teaching him its importance, you’re stunting his growth, spiritually and intellectually. Out of wonder comes knowledge – knowledge of one’s self and one’s world.


No question you should be involved in his schooling. From being active in the PTA to helping him with his homework, you need to be as active and engaged in his formal education as his mom is. But what about his time out of school? How does he come to appreciate the arts? How does he learn to learn to play a musical instrument? How does he learn to take the sound bite he hears on a political ad as only part of a larger, more complicated story? You teach him how to read, how to play, how to investigate. You teach him to learn to think on his own. You teach him it’s ok to ask questions, even to authority figures, even if that’s you. In short, you teach him to be his own man.

If you follow these rules will you raise the perfect son? Nope. But you are going to raise a fine young man. And so will he.

Happy Father’s Day!

Contributed by:

Christopher D. Maples

Dad & Director Since 2006

3833 N. Meridian Street

Indianapolis, IN 46208

(o) 317.635.DADS





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