what makes a great dad

5 Enemies of Fatherhood

Do you want to be an average dad or an amazing one? I’m thinking you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t want to take your role as a dad to another level. The hard part about going to a higher level is it takes dedication, focus, hard work, and a willingness to change. We need to be confronted with our weaknesses and have the humility to own and deal with them. Lately, I have been challenged as a man and a dad by a daily devotional called Move by Brian Tome.

One of his daily thoughts that stood out to me is about identifying your enemies. You can define “enemies” in a lot of different ways, but we’ll define them as the things that keep us from being better versions of ourselves. When I think about my enemies as a dad, it’s those things that keep me from being the man my kids need—the things that take me away from what makes a great dad. I thought three that Brian Tome listed applied to fatherhood. I added a couple more. Here are 5 enemies of fatherhood.

1. Anger

Uncontrolled anger can do a lot of damage. It can make kids feel unsafe and unloved. We are going to have moments when we get angry, but we have to work on maintaining control. Whether it is stress, unmet expectations, or feelings of inadequacy, we have to deal with the underlying issue that causes our anger. Otherwise, we will reach breaking points and blow up.

When you lose it: Admit it, apologize for it, and ask for forgiveness. Then never stop working on it.

2. Laziness

This is the most demanding time in our lives. Our kids, our jobs, possibly our parents, and our wives (if we’re married) need our time and energy. Yes, fatherhood is exhausting, but our time of influence is short. When laziness takes over, we check out and miss the opportunity to love and care for our kids. They are at vulnerable ages and they need our engagement and guidance. Checking out can lead to stunted growth and a weakened sense of identity.

When you get lazy: Engage. Remember that your kids need your presence. Find people to help hold you accountable for giving your all.

3. Distraction

It is so easy to be distracted these days. We are always reachable by text, email, phone call, or whatever else your workplace uses to communicate. That doesn’t even cover social media, gaming, or whatever else catches your eyes. It’s one thing to use these tools to connect with our kids, but too often, they take us away.

When you get distracted: Focus. Remember what is important and hold boundaries. Remove the distractions. If it’s your phone, then turn it off when you come home.

4. Selfishness

Seeking our own interests leads to callousness and disconnection. Don’t misunderstand me—we can certainly have our own hobbies and seek out alone time. But there is a big difference between improving ourselves and seeking rest so we can be better for our kids and being selfish. Is what you are doing making you better for your kids or making you more absent?

When you are selfish: Sacrifice. If a desire, hobby, or even a dream is negatively impacting your relationship with your kids, then give it up. Remember that being a dad is a calling. Live out that calling faithfully. 

Remember that being a dad is a calling. Live out that calling faithfully.

5. Passivity

If we passively stand back, our kids will wander through life left to figure it out on their own. Your kids need you. As Brian Tome’s devotional tells us in the title, we need to move. Being a great father requires us to enter into our kids’ cares, struggles, and dreams to offer support, guidance, and even discipline.

When you are passive: Initiate. Study your kids and step into their world. Ask your kids questions. Have uncomfortable, age-appropriate conversations.

Earn some points: Are you married? If so, share this iMOM article with your wife: Am I a Good Mom?

Sound off: Great question from Brian Tome’s Move: “What is your enemy and have you thrown any punches at it this week?”

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are some things you need to work on in order to become a better version of yourself?”