My definition of the perfect father, in no particular order, is this: a man who — loves his kids more than his job; who has a desiring-to-interact-on-a-willing-basis kind of attitude; who teaches, by example, the way to be a godly man; who doesn’t yell, but rather takes the time to explain consequences of bad choices; who listens to their problems without judging; who high-fives with genuine excitement when his son or daughter accomplishes a task they struggled to achieve; who demonstrates a humble attitude from a sincere heart; who owns up to his mistakes and makes things right with those he offended – including his children; who shows love and affection to his wife; and who is genuine at all times.
Was my dad the perfect father? No, he was not, but I loved him, and I knew he loved me. And, that’s what mattered to me from childhood through my teenage years and into my married life. I knew I was his “little brown eyes.” One time after having extensive dental work done and feeling lousy, my dad still picked me up from grade school because it was cold and rainy. That made me feel like I was important to him. He worked hard with not much time to do family things, but our suppers together made up for it. Even as a teen, we ate together and spent unhurried time talking and laughing. If my friends came over, they joined us at the table.
Is my husband the perfect father and grandfather? Our daughters and our grandkids seem to think so. Why? I think it’s because he loves them. He does not offer advice unless he’s asked for it nor does he judge them when they make a mistake. His is genuine, honest, quiet, unassuming, and accepting of each one who calls him “Dad” or “Grampa.”
My husband is wise, but humble. Our daughters bought him a personalized license plate that said, “Wise One.” He did not display it on his truck, however, or even in his workshop. “Too much pressure to measure up to,” he explained.
I do notice two neighborhood fathers who seem to stand out from the rest. One father, Carl, faithfully walks his little girl to the bus stop every school morning. The way they walk next to each other is so sweet. I can see them talking together. Sometimes he carries her pink backpack on his shoulder. The other neighbor, Tim, regularly shoots hoops in his driveway with his son. They challenge each other, laugh, and high-five the one who makes a slam dunk. They spend their time together having lots of fun.
The only perfect father is our heavenly Father. However, since there is no magic formula to be a perfect father on earth, I would sum up my definition of the perfect dad to be: a man who truly loves God, his wife and his kids.
Rita Kroon is a blogger, book reviewer, and author of nine books including Kiss Your Mommy Goodbye, a story of a father's desperate need to provide love and stability as a part-time father to his young daughter and the consequences of his choice.