They come from author Hugh O’Neill, who wrote the book “A Man Called Daddy.” And sure, you might say that a father’s role in their kid’s life is too complex to distill down to 8 bullet points – and you’re right. But think of these as guiding principles......
- Be big, in spirit that is. Your kids expect you to be a powerful force in their lives – so live that role. Be the voice in their head when they’re away from you and a presence in their life when they’re with you.
- Be small. I know, that it contradicts "Be big in spirit", but hear me out. Don’t be so big that you suck the air out of the room. Be small enough so your kids can find their own way in life, test out their own thoughts, and find their own strengths. Every now and then say, “I don’t know” and “I’m sorry.”
- Come home. If you can pay the bills without working double shifts, do so. Nothing good can happen between you and your kids until you come home.
- Be flexible. Don’t make too many hard and fast rules. Don’t insist on having your way at home just because the rest of the world doesn’t take you seriously. Don’t be overly interested in the sound of your own voice. There’s a difference between authority and power. Have the first; don’t abuse the second.
- Never dance in front of your kids’ friends. Period.
- Never go on a ride that has the word “whirl” in its name. It’s tough to be a good father when your nervous system is compromised.
- Don’t make your kids your second chance. We get the most upset with our kids when they remind us of ourselves and our own shortcomings. Help your kids follow their own path – don’t force them to become what you never could.
- Love their mother. Hug her – often – in front of the kids. Even if you’re no longer together, be grateful to her, respect her, try to make her laugh, and listen.