My wife forwarded me an article the other day because she knows that I have pretty strong feelings about what it means to be a “good dad.” The article is here.

I agree with most of what the author says. I think those arguing against him in the comment section (or calling him ridiculous) are missing the point he is trying to make.

Wiping your kid’s nose, changing a diaper, making sure they’re fed, teaching them to throw a ball, teaching them to read, and so on, are all great. But doing those things doesn't make you a great dad.

As Chris Rock once said (and I’m paraphrasing): “You’re SUPPOSED to do those things.” It’s like “Hey, thanks for waking up today. You’re a good human.”

You shouldn’t have to tell someone they’re a good dad for doing the very things that a dad SHOULD be doing anyway.

So why does this happen so often? I think it comes from the fact that there are many fathers who look for every opportunity they can to get out of doing those things. These fathers interact with their children only when its “convenient” for them.

If you are one of these fathers, you’re a joke. You’re pathetic if you can’t change diapers, watch the kids without your wife, give them a bath, etc.

These fathers are the ones screwing it up for everyone else.

Being told I’m a good father for wiping my kid’s nose is extremely condescending as it insinuates that someone thought I was incapable of mastering such a complicated act of parenthood.

I mean, you never hear someone calling a woman “a good mom” for taking all of her kids to the store. Why? Because it’s expected. It’s something they are SUPPOSED to do.

Please people, quit holding men to a different set of standards when it comes to parenthood (a lower one at that). If you wouldn’t pay the same compliment to a woman, then don’t give it to a man.

So, how do you determine who is a good father? Here’s my standard. Compare me to other dads who are doing the things that they are SUPPOSED to be doing. Then determine who is doing those things begrudgingly and who is doing those things because they want to do them.

The good dads are those who do them because they want to (out of love), not obligation.

4 Responses so far.

  1. T.P. says:

    Well, I think you and I already talked about this, but about three years ago, we did a period of "social studies" (for lack of a better term) in our adult Bible class, and it came up that in the Jewish culture of the Old Testament, male children in particular came under the primary direction of their fathers somewhere around age 5 or so. I'm pretty sure they did not hand out medals for it. I wonder how many modern Western fathers would be up for that.

  2. Joshua says:

    Interesting. Probably not many. If that was the case, it makes you wonder how someone like Solomon managed fatherhood with all the kids he must have had.

  3. Keith says:

    Well said. I suspect Solomon was no better a father than David turned out to be. As evidence, I cite Solomon's son Rehoboam.

  4. Mike says:

    Where's the like button?

Leave a Reply