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What Does it Take To Be a Good Dad?

By Mormon.org
What it takes to be a good Dad today? - A photo depicting a Dad with his wife and kids next to a fence outside.

As a father, making decisions and feeling good about those decisions can be one of life’s biggest challenges. Let's face it: kids do not come with an instruction manual, and parenting often has a steep learning curve.

So what are some practical suggestions on parenting that will help us be better fathers?

In October 2009, Elder M. Russell Ballard gave the following tips in his remarks entitled Fathers and Sons: A Remarkable Relationship. Although these suggestions are directed toward fathers and sons, they can be applied to daughters as well.

1. Listen to your sons—truly listen to them.

Ask the right kind of questions, and listen to what your sons have to say. Show genuine interest in your son and know what is going on in his life. Don’t think you have to try to fix everything or solve everything during these visits. Most of the time, the best thing you can do is just listen and show you genuinely care.

2. Pray with and for your sons.

3. Have the “big talks” with your sons.

Among other things, talk about drinking, drugs, and the dangers of today’s media (e.g., the Internet, cyber technologies, and pornography), as well as respect for girls and maintaining standards of morality.

Chat with a Mormon about fathers and their role in God's plan.

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The following questions help us understand how fathers help shape the identities of their children, and brings up some interesting questions that really cause us to be introspective as we consider our relationship to our own father, including:

1. In your eyes, what did your father do “right” and where was there room for improvement?

2. Was your father a major figure in your life? How did his presence (or lack thereof) affect you?

3. If your father was not as involved as you would have liked, did someone else step in and fill the void? Did you have positive mentors as you grew into adulthood?

4. How has your father’s example helped you commit to be a better father/parent to your children?

In the video below, watch how one devoted husband and father did everything he could for his spouse and children. Special needs and life-long issues with sickness was not enough to keep this humble garbage man from being the best provider, comforter, and example he could be to those closest to him.

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