What Does it Take to be a Good Father?
We’ve studied some expert opinions and views on fatherhood from some of Australia’s favourite dads. Being awarded ‘Father of the Year’ would be no easy feat, and so these exceptional fathers must have done a few things right. There is no one answer, but rather insightful pieces of ‘dadvice’ from these five experts. So, in celebration of Father’s Day in Australia this weekend, let’s have a look at what it takes to be a good father from some of the best in the country…
Father of two boys (now adults) and AFL coaching legend, Paul Roos, was awarded the Father of the Year Award in 2008. Leading young men at home and again in professional sport, Roos believes that dads have an “enormous amount” of responsibility to act as role models for their sons. Where some people would react with violence, fathers should demonstrate how to properly react. He also notes that too many parents are afraid to say ‘no’ nowadays. Allowing kids to do whatever they please is no way to raise balanced young individuals.
“Fathers show boys how to be good men” says Father of the Year 2000 and parenting activist Steve Biddulph. He also notes the important role that a good father plays for young women, “Girls who are close to their dads get involved with boys later, and show better judgement when choosing partners”. The underlying message of Biddulph’s ‘dadvice’ is to take an active fatherhood role. Spend more time, pay more attention and make your child feel valued. He encourages fathers to be “warm-hearted” and “involved with day-to-day care”.
His ability to “rise above the challenges” made Ron Delezio more than just a good father. He was awarded Father of the Year in 2006. After his daughter’s life-threatening injuries, he worked to raise funds for other burns victims, and had an important message to share about family… Don’t take your family for granted. Delezio also noted how the “love and dedication” he observed from other parents with hospitalised children helped to save their lives. He responded to adversity with resilience, dedication and love, and undoubtedly empowered his family to do the same.
2013 Father of the Year Ben Roberts-Smith, has played a fatherly role to his entire country, as well as twin girls. A Victoria Cross recipient for bravery, Roberts-Smith made a special note of the “sacrifice” of fathers who have served. Described also as a ‘normal dad who is devoted to his children’ the VC recipient’s message of sacrifice translates to non-military fathers too… A good father prioritises the needs of his children above the needs of himself. The sacrifices that good parents make everyday should not be overlooked. It’s an important way to show children that they are valued.
Australian artist and optimist, Ken Done won Father of the Year in 1989. Reflecting on the wisdom imparted to him by his male role models, Done recalls the saying “look to this day“. Sound advice from a known optimist and fantastic role model. He also speaks very highly of the women in his life. He notes that a very important part of being a man is to understand both masculinity and femininity. Both men and women have the ability to be strong and sensitive. So, perhaps the big message for fathers out of this is not to suppress their sensitive side, as tradition would have us believe.
Raising a family can be difficult, and being a good father means something different to everyone. But, perhaps the strongest message that all of the aforementioned super-dads had to share, was about being a good role model. Children will learn how to behave by watching their parents. So, before acting, consider if this is how you would want your children to behave. But even with the best intentions, we’re not always going to get it right. We’re faced with tough decisions everyday, no matter what our role. The important point to remember is that it is okay to make mistakes. Like anything, fatherhood should be a continual process of learning. Be open-minded and adapt when you have to. Recognise your mistakes, and make sure you employ better systems to avoid them next time.
As always, thanks for reading, and we’d love to hear why your father is so fantastic in the comments section below!