Calling all fathers, wanna-be fathers or fathers looking to do better! I've created the "10 Dad Commandments" to help all learn to be the best parents possible. Check them out and let me know what you think.
Time is the most valuable gift you can give your children and kids. I know they can't eat time and I know time cannot buy a house. But, it is the sort of present that will continue to give well after material goods are dead and gone. I never get enough time in with my kid and will always look to give her even more. I've had to learn first had that "I grinded really hard" will not be engraved on my tombstone. And you cannot take the money with you.
2) Let Them Fall
One time after teaching my daughter to ride a bike, she fell. She fell hard. In fact, even though she had a helmet on, her face hit the pavement. She was visibly shaken and scared, but after making sure she was OK, I knew immediately what had to be done. She began mumbling about how she didn't want to get back on the bike again. After a bit of nudging, I helped her regain her confidence back and get right back on that bike. I feared that this seemingly traumatic moment would let her know that it was OK to quit in life. I think she got a valuable lesson that day.
3) Protect and Serve
Last year, I wrote about being a grand protector to my own child and that stands. "Come witcha shield and your armor gear," as EPMD once said. Men and fathers should act as bodyguards protecting their children from harm, particularly from outside forces. But, this sort of protection doesn't mean that you put your kid inside a bubble. It means you equip them with the tools to survive in his world that can be so lopsided and so cruel. On the flip side it is on us parents to serve our kids and in turn, teach them to serve others in the community, God and those in need.
4) Be A Marvel Superhero
Once upon a time, I wrote a private document called "The Superman Manifesto." It was a guide to being the perfect father and husband. Well, I started writing the journal entries and it became more and more evident that I wasn't perfect like Superman was when I was growing up. (((GASP))) So, I urge fathers to be a Marvel Superhero. I loved Marvel super heroes in particular, because while they had their incredible side, they also had a facet if their persona that was decidedly imperfect. Be a Marvel superhero.
5) Listen and HEAR
Dad, take the time to listen to your children. In many instances, they are telling you something, oftentimes without actually "saying it." That means you have to hear them and take heed to subtle nuances that come from paying attention. They will notice the difference too. From what I have deduced, this is something that woman have done instinctively and traditionally and a trait men should adopt.
My daughter is young so there's very little to forgive unless its forgiving something like the time she accidentally poured liquid dish detergent on my head. But some of my comrades with older kids go through it and one told me parents must forgive, even when the kids make colossal mistakes. Holding grudges is almost like a maxim in American society, but with kids, it cannot be. This is especially when they are seemingly more prone to messing up than ever before with bigger consequences. :)
7) Praise More than Punish
Praise! Praise! Praise! This one come from one of my most dearest friends, who ironically does not have children. Praise, praise, praise your kids when they deserve it. And if you have to punish them, they should know why so they can be built back up for more praise. They get beat down, restrained and conditioned enough in the media, the music and society. Praise!
8) Take Care Of Yourself
This is a big one. Time flies and I finally went to the doctor after many years of grinding. Suddenly, I woke up and went to do doctor for a routine check up. I found out I had high blood pressure and it was a threat to my well-being. My father passed away in his mid-40's and I have resolved to be there for my daughter as long as possible. Hit the clinic! The doctor! Read health oriented books! Take care of your body and mind too.
9) Teach Greatness
One time my daughter and I read a book about slavery and how a former slave made his way to freedom. Then she came and read another book with the same premise. This second time around, I listened very closely to her thoughts on the latter. After hearing her thoughts, I had to educate her a bit about Africans before slavery and the wealth of Greatness that flows in her blood. The Kings. The Queens. And the fact that so-called slaves were some of the toughest human beings ever created. They survived. Like Wu Tang said, "Teach the babies."
10) Childs Mother Does Not EVER Stop You From Being Dad
This is my final commandment and its the biggest! I will not forget when somebody I respected gave me one of the lamest excuses ever for not being present in his child's life. I understand that it can be friction and contention between adults, but that child is still your responsibility to raise. Fortunately, in the circles I walk in more and more fathers are striving to become model fathers. I was blessed to speak to the graduating class of Fathers Now in Newark, NJ, and was elated to see that new cycles were being created and excuses were being destroyed. Again: it is YOUR responsibility to raise your child. Love that responsibility with a passion!!!!
Follow these commandments and you will never have to concern yourself with the guilt of being a crappy father and a the resentment, pity and/or loathing your kids will come to feel for you. There are more "commandments" and I encourage them. Thanks and Happy Fathers Day to all the men out there!