father's day, what makes a father, how to be a good dad

What Makes a Father and How to Be a Good Dad?

by Deborah Cruz

Today is Father’s Day. When you think of the word father, you think of the man who gave you life. But really, a father is something much more than that, if you’re lucky. What makes a father? More importantly, how do you know how to be a good dad? A father is someone who loves you at your worst, someone who shows up every single day, even when it’s harder than anyone could have ever anticipated.

I think in a lot of ways; men are given hall passes on their responsibility as a parent. It’s like we’ve lowered the bar so far we don’t even know what makes a father anymore and no one is teaching men how to be a good dad. I’m not even blaming the men. I’m blaming society as a whole. Somewhere along the way, it became acceptable to do the bare minimum and still hold the title of father. A lot of dads just accepted the status quo. Maybe they didn’t know any better or maybe it was all of those pats on the back for taking care of their own children.

READ ALSO: Happy Father’s Day

What is a father? A father is defined as a male parent but to be a good dad includes behaving paternally. Instinctually putting your child before yourself. Prioritizing their happiness and well-being above your own sometimes. We should celebrate these dads every day of the year, not just on Father’s Day. It’s about more than gifts, it’s about appreciating all that they do.

Today, I wish a Happy Father’s Day to all the involved fathers.

There are a lot of great dads out there. Men who constantly show up and are there for their children and partners all the time. Men who embrace the title and feel privileged to be a part of their children’s lives. Men who do everything possible to create a better world for their children. I hope there are more of those dads than there are men who contribute to the genetic makeup of their children and think that’s where fatherhood ends.

father's day, what makes a father, how to be a good dad

I’d like to say a special Happy Father’s Day to my husband, the Big Guy, for being the best father and husband anyone could ever want. He is 100% my partner in parenting. There is nothing I can do that he can’t do for our girls, well, with the exception of gestating them but then again, he is the husband who had sympathetic symptoms and weight gain so he tried. All kidding aside, I know that we are lucky because he is a kind and good man at his core.

He shows up when he’s exhausted and weary. Woke up many a night with our newborns, paced the floor with a colicky baby and held toddlers with nightmares of chickens and lemurs. The Big Guy does what needs to be done even when he doesn’t want to. He’s selfless and caring. His family always comes first and even though he and I had different upbringings and came from different cultures, he saw how important family was to me and he embraced it all.

father's day, what makes a father, how to be a good dad

This is what makes a father.

He drives on long road trips so that he can show his girls the world. He treats them (and me) we unconditional love and respect so that they can see what a relationship is supposed to look/feel like. He holds them when they’re sad, listens when the world is hard and confusing, hears the things that go unsaid and makes them smile when they are sad. The Big Guy tries new things and goes out of his comfort zone so that our girls won’t be afraid to spread their wings and fly someday. His love knows no bounds.

father's day, what makes a father, how to be a good dad

He’s driven to and attended countless ballet classes, recitals and performances. The Big Guy has worked backstage and volunteered to do things most dads would emphatically refuse. He’s been there for Robotics, soccer, gymnastics, violin and cheerleading. Helps with homework and hugs them when they’ve had a hard day. Listens to them gossip about school and talk about boys. Holds their hair when they’re sick, keeps them calm when they need shots and laughs the loudest when they are funny (even when it’s not funny). He builds them up so no one else can knock them down.

READ ALSO: A Baby Changes Everything

The Big Guy spoils them and makes them feel special because they are his girls. He encourages them and supports them in all that they’ve ever wanted to try or shown interest in. He is a cheerleader and a coach. He’s a soft place to land when the world knocks them down. He is so much more than words can say. They call him daddy, Papi and papa and he is all of that and more.

father's day, what makes a father, how to be a good dad

Wondering how to be a good dad?

I am so happy that my daughters have such an amazing man as their father; a man who comes home from a long day at work and still musters the energy to play for hours with the girls. A man who listens quietly as they recount the most inane teenage drama there ever way. A father who doesn’t try to fix everything and knows when to just hear you. He makes 3 am runs for Tylenol and 6 am runs for cupcakes for school, rides your favorite roller coaster with you 15 times in a row and watches your favorite cartoon until you tire of it. He does all of this and never complains. This is love. This is what I wish for every child.

father's day, what makes a father, how to be a good dad

Happy Father’s Day to our Big Guy. We love you so much and we see you. We see all that you do for your family. We see the sacrifices that you make and we feel the love you give every single day. You are the best man we could have ever hoped to share our lives with.

Love you to the moon and back and to infinity and beyond!
XOXO Your Girls

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