13 P’s All Dads Must Be

I remember having conversations when my wife and I were dating that would last for hours. You know, the kind where you have to find an outlet to plug in the phone so you can keep talking. We had some very good conversations during those phone dates. One night, we got to talking about what we perceived to be our character strengths. I told her I was thankful I was such a patient person. She started giggling, and then quickly stopped when she realized I was being serious. There was a little pause in conversation, which is the moment I realized I must not have been as patient as I thought.

Patience is certainly one of the qualities of a good father, but it’s not the only one. Dads must get comfortable acting as a Swiss army knife to be an effective parent. One minute, kids will need you to be their corkscrew, opening doors and opportunities. The next, they’ll need you to be a blade, slicing away things that hinder them. You have a tremendous responsibility on your shoulders, but you can do the job well. Here are 13 P’s all dads must be.

1. Present

How many times have you caught yourself in the same room as your kids but totally disconnected from what’s happening? Kids crave and need your attention, and they won’t get it if you’re not practicing being present.

2. Protective

This is more than just physical protection, although that’s very important. Kids need to know that you have their best interests at heart and will protect them from whatever threatens their mental, emotional, and spiritual safety.

3. Predictable

If you say you’ll do something, do it. Your kids need to know what to expect from you. If you’re inconsistent, their obedience, behavior, and attitude will be, too. Dependability is one of the qualities of a good father.

4. Productive

Teaching children proper work ethic is one of the most important things a parent can do. Scripture says, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23). If you don’t want lazy kids, model hard work.

5. Powerful

This has nothing to do with deadlifts. Dads show power with their encouraging words, uplifting actions, and constant support. Your kids will feel confident when they know you’re in their corner.

6. Persuasive

Sometimes, kids need a little push in the right direction to build self-esteem. A simple “go for it” from Dad may be just the fuel they need to accomplish their dreams.

7. Prayerful

This is one of the most important qualities of a good father, in my opinion. We have an obligation from God to take care of our children physically, mentally, and emotionally, but all that is for naught if we neglect their spiritual needs. One of the ways we can do that is to pray “without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) for our kids, their education, relationships, safety, and goals.

8. Playful

Some of my favorite nights are the nights when the TV never gets turned on. I love game nights with the kids. We have fun, get silly, and make memories. It doesn’t matter if it’s hide-and-go-seek, Scrabble, or driveway hockey. Being playful is a great way to bond with your children and teaches them life doesn’t always have to be so serious.

9. Push-Over

I am all for vegetables, but sometimes ice cream for dinner is OK. I wouldn’t recommend it every night, but being a push-over now and again isn’t going to ruin your children.

10. Punisher

Finding an effective way to discipline can be hard, but it’s a dad’s duty. Picture your children as cars on a highway. You must be the guardrails. Every bit of discipline you provide today will hopefully help keep them from veering into trouble down the road.

11. Planner

It’s not fair to leave all the planning duties to Mom. So, get out the calendar. Schedule special outings. Go to the beach, enjoy the park, or chase fireflies while camping. Make the plans. It shows your family you care about them.

12. Pure

Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” This means we must strive to live moral and pure lives. Every man has areas of his life that need some cleaning up. You’ll be a better dad for examining yourself and making any necessary changes.

13. Patient

After all these years, I’m still working on this one. I know I need to let the little things that bug me roll off my back. The words of Ephesians are a great compass for anyone trying to build patience: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”

Sound off: Which area of your life needs the most work?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is Dad’s biggest strength?”