The Mistakes that Dads Make

Last night I wanted to be someone else for a few moments. My wife and I were at a worship service. Standing in front of us (everyone was on their feet) was a family. It consisted of a macho looking cowboy, his wife, 2 boys, and 1 girl. The kids were from ages 8 down to 3 (the girl). Both my wife and I were having flashbacks. We are now empty nesters watching this amazing family. All of the children were hugging and holding on to their parents with equal love and admiration. Wow, I was in tears. I was looking at the richest man in that room. I don’t know if he knew how fortunate he was/is. I just knew that this rough-looking guy had a gentle and caring touch. He was a hero.

This got me to thinking about the other dads. I pondered all of the fathers that did not “get it”. They screwed up, wasted time, and lived selfishly. It made my heart hurt. I don’t know how many men I have encountered that now live in regret. They shattered relationships because of a lie sold to them by the world on top of selfish ambitions. The lie was/is the perceived definition of what a real man is and the American dream (what you achieve and possess).

There is a way of thinking that we as men must get away from. That being said, I put together a list of the top mistakes that I believe men and dads make that prevent them from being the best dads possible.

  1. Your alpha male needs to be in check. Assert your dominance by being in control of your emotions.
  2. Life is about the glory of your creator, not you. The idea of “you”… do what is best for you, loving yourself, putting yourself first, looking after #1, is the epitome of evil. We should put others before ourselves.
  3. You will never be cherished in the memories of others because of your achievements and possessions. Only your love and giving will achieve this.
  4. You don’t know everything, quit acting like it.
  5. Winning an argument is not always winning.
  6. Avoiding issues does not make them go away. Sometimes it requires difficult and unpopular decisions for the betterment of those you love.
  7. The grass is greener on the other side of the fence because of the crap that comes with it.
  8. Immediate gratification usually ends up in regret.
  9. Doing what is right can be a very lonely feeling.
  10. Listen….stop….and really listen. Learn the ancient Chinese art of shut up. We talk too much. That is why we don’t learn.

The minute that you turn off your ears, mind, and hearts, you lose. “Pride comes before the fall.” – Proverbs 16:18. You can try to do things your own way. After all, we men, like kids, don’t like to be told what to do. We are even this way when people want to help us. It sounds kind of stupid, doesn’t it?

As a Navy Seal, the goal is to achieve the mission, not to demonstrate how tough you are. Don’t believe me? Check out Raising Men, by Eric Davis. I think we can all agree that the SEALs have the market cornered on being a badass. However, they will not engage or “make contact” if they don’t have to. This has a great lesson for us men and dads. Unfortunately, most of us care too much about how we are perceived by others. This gets in the way of doing what is in the best interest of those we love. 

You are called to love, provide for, and protect your families. You are not called to be the roaring lion or a dictator in your home. Are you tough? Show your strength by doing what is right regardless of opinion as well as having restraint. Power is being in control, this includes your attitude and words. We must be disciplined to put others before us. Evaluate yourself and be the best dad possible.