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A Checklist for Dads - An Early Father’s Day Post

In 1983 I made a short list to try to become a better dad.

Wrote it down in the back of my Bible.

I was in my late 20s.

My kids are in now their mid 30s.

I’m in my early 60s.

And a grandfather too.

Many of my friends are having children.

So I’m sharing this list with all fathers with the hope you’ll become and stay a good dad.

Or grand-dad.


1. Listen to My Kids.

I know sometimes dads wish their kids would be quiet, or quieter and not ask so many questions, but remember there is always a question behind their question. Here are two examples:

“Can I help?” = Do you need me?

“Can I come with you?” = Do you love me?

Listen to your kids now and take their questions seriously. If you don’t, one day you'll get your wish and they'll stop asking you questions.They may even stop talking to you.

Listening is silent love.

2. Affirm and Encourage My Kids.

Our kids need our affirmation and encoragement. They need to know, from us, what they're good at, or not so good at. Everyone and everything will tear down or crap all over their dreams and hopes. Someone will break their hearts. Sometimes they will have a very public failure. Your affirming, encouraging voice will help them navigate through those difficult periods.

Words matter.

3. Spend Time With My Kids.

This one is the toughest. The time when kids may need you the most, you’re spending so much time building your career and wealth. Here’s a reminder: I can remember a few things my dad gave me, but I recall every time my dad spent time with me. Your kids will too.

Time strengthens relationships.

4. Laugh With My Kids.

Is there a better way to gauge the health of any relationship than laughter?

Maybe. Probably. But laughter is the one I used. When I can make my kids laugh at themselves, at me, or at life I know we’re good.

Generous people laugh.

Grateful people laugh.

Happy people laugh.

There will be enough times of grief and sorrow, so when you can, make them laugh.

Humor heals.

Happy [early] Father’s Day.

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