description of a good father

5 Things Every Dad Should Be

Growing up, my father would always say, “A man should be the priest, prophet, provider, and protector of his home.” As my family has grown, I realize the importance of his words. His list was helpful and memorable. Today, dads can find all kinds of how-to lists of things we should know. Sure, it’s nice to learn how to tell a good story at bedtime, change a tire, or start a fire.

But what should you be as a dad? What traits should you model for your kids? Remember, you are your son’s first hero and your daughter’s first love. No, you won’t get everything perfect. My dad wasn’t perfect, but I think he was the description of a good father. He was always there for me—trying. I’ve tried to take my dad’s advice and adapt it to every dad. Here are 5 things every dad should be.

1. Present

Our presence is more valuable to our kids than any gift we could ever give. Being present means reading your kids’ favorite story until the pages are worn and showing up not just on game day but at practices too. Your presence will result in the connection necessary for you to be the other things on this list.

2. Provider

When I say “provider,” I know you’re thinking, “He’s talking about money.” But providing for your kids means more than just money, food, clothing, and shelter; it means everything from emotional connection to spiritual leadership. Be the leader your kids need by providing them with unconditional love, respect, and care.

3. Protector

Your home should feel like a safe place. You protect your home not just by locking the doors at night but by how you look after your family’s emotional health and integrity. As a protector, you shield your family from physical, emotional, and even spiritual threats that are destructive. This might include guarding what your kids see online or teaching them how to handle a difficult situation at school.

4. Initiator

You must be known in your home as the initiator, as somebody who takes the lead wherever your family needs you to do so. As the initiator, you’ll pay attention for conversations that need to happen—and then you’ll start them. You’ll look for opportunities to bond, activities to do, and ways to help without being asked. When you initiate properly, you’re not only showing your kids you love them, but you’re also showing them how to lead.

5. Teachable

One of the biggest compliments a dad can get is that he’s teachable. You should be known as a  guy who seeks to learn rather than as a guy who thinks he knows everything. Every day, try to learn something new that will make you a better dad. Study and ask other fathers you admire and implement the qualities you learn from them. Even for the most seasoned dads, there is room for improvement.

Sound off: What would be your description of a good father?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is one thing you need from me this week?”