Be a Father by Carey Casey

In ParentLife this month, I wrote about dads who deserve to be honored, and the idea of making “sacrifices” for our children. It occurs to me that another great point to make is that there are dads out there who pretty much define that word “sacrifice.” So I want to add a salute to dads who are committed to meeting the needs of their kids—no matter what.

This is expressed by dads in many different challenging situations, but I have one group in mind specifically.

Some years ago, my bride Melanie and I came face-to-face with the difficult truth that our son had a mild learning challenge. It wasn’t anything major, and he has nearly overcome it in the years since. But at the time it set me back for a while. Our family is not perfect by any means. Still, it seemed like the kind of thing that just didn’t happen to us. My three other children have their unique strengths and weaknesses, but they didn’t have this specific challenge.

So I started asking questions I’m sure are normal for these kinds of situations: What caused this? Was it something I did—or didn’t do? Did we miss something that could have made a difference?

But it wasn’t long before those more self-centered thoughts turned to love and concern for my son. No matter what happened in the past, what can I do now to help him? My consuming thought was, Hey, this is my time to step up. I have to be a father. I need to be there for my son.

If any of you dads listening today have children with even more challenging issues—like autism, Down’s Syndrome, or something else—I know you’re very familiar with those thoughts and emotions. It’s often dads like you who set the mark and help us to define what it means to be a committed dad. When the needs of your child required some extra sacrifices, you stepped up. You put your child’s needs before your own, and you’ve never regretted it.

Those dads deserve more recognition for what they do.

And this message may be more for the rest of us who face the routine rigors of being a dad, but aren’t facing the overwhelming exhaustion of raising a child with extreme disabilities. I would say, “Dad, take a page from the playbook of the most committed dads you know. Make the radical decision to sacrifice your own desires and goals for the sake of your children.”

And then my other thought would be this: no matter what your children’s gifts, abilities, and weaknesses may be, cherish them for who they are. Be flexible, and grow with them. Let them teach you what it means to be a committed father.

 

careycaseycasual2007Carey Casey is Chief Executive Officer of the Kansas City-based National Center for Fathering and author of the book Championship Fathering: How to Win at Being a Dad.

Through his work across the country, Casey has earned a reputation as a dynamic communicator, especially on the topic of men being good fathers. He’s known as a compassionate ambassador, particularly within the American sports community.

Dad’s Life with Carey Casey: The Importance of Modeling

Claire made me breakfast in bed!
source: escapist

Need a weekly nudge in your efforts to be the kind of dad your kids need? Here’s what worked for one dad.

Rick has two young children. He told me about some lessons he has learned, with help from the Fathers.com weekly e-mail. I think we can all probably learn something here.

Leading up to Mother’s Day one year, Rick’s wife was going out of town to visit her parents with their 2-year-old daughter and newborn son. So with her gone, Rick thought he was “off the hook.” He’d get her a card and give it to her when she came home.

Then he received our weekly e-mail. It suggested that he do something big to honor his bride and get the kids involved, because it’s important to set an example for them and show honor for the role of mothers.

When his family came home, he involved his 2-year-old daughter in choosing a special gift for Mom. Then, on the next Sunday, Rick and his daughter got up early and made a special breakfast together for their mom—including Eggs Benedict. It wasn’t the best-tasting meal, but his wife said it was the best Mother’s Day ever.

Another story from Rick reinforces the lesson: At Valentine’s Day last year, it was a busy time and he was planning to get a few simple gifts to bring home for his wife and his daughter. Once again, our weekly e-mail reminded him that he’s setting an important example—both in how he shows love to his wife and showing his daughter how she should expect to be treated by boys.

So Rick raised the bar. He made arrangements to take his daughter to a daddy-daughter dance. He dressed up and left the house so he could arrive at the appointed time to pick up his daughter for their date. He took her out to dinner and then they had a great time at the dance.

Dad, recognize that you’re always modeling behavior and character for your kids—whether you’re serving your wife, going to work, fixing something, or just hanging out. They’re always watching and learning from you, and like Rick shows us, it’s never too early to start.

 

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Carey Casey is Chief Executive Officer of the Kansas City-based National Center for Fathering and author of the book Championship Fathering: How to Win at Being a Dad.

Through his work across the country, Casey has earned a reputation as a dynamic communicator, especially on the topic of men being good fathers. He’s known as a compassionate ambassador, particularly within the American sports community.