I recently started a subscription to the Wall Street Journal, and find it fascinating to read about companies that make the jump from “Good to Great” as Jim Collins defines it. Companies that make the jump apply similar characteristics, yet differentiate themselves from other successful companies in the actual application of those principles. To me, fathers can become better, if they are willing to apply certain principles, “best practices”, if you will. My hope is to expound on a few principles/rules of fatherhood, that can help all of us become a little bit better. These rules have helped and continue to help me improve myself a bit each day.
Rule #1: Love their mother.
Wait…how can focusing your attention on something other than your kids help you be a better father? Let me explain a few reasons why loving the mother of your children can make a difference.
- Sons: When my now 3-month old boy begin to socialize with members of the other gender (which I hope is later than sooner, but only time will tell), I want him to treat them as a gentleman would. I want him to open their doors, walk on the side of the sidewalk closest to the street, etc. The best way for me to prepare him for that, is to love his mother. I would hope I could be an example of a husband, so when he does decide to marry, he will understand how to make his wife happy and be the same example to his children.
- Daughters: Let’s face it, my daughter is going to meet a boy, fall in love, and want to settle down (again, I am going to be excited for that day…I promise). If I want her to meet a man who is kind, loving, and treats her right, then I need to help her set her expectations high to find that man. She will want to find a man similar to her father, most of the women I know would agree (feel free to disagree). I hope to be the type of man that I would be happy for my daughter to marry.
- Wife: Obviously, we love their mother because she is our wife. If we truly love our wives, she will feel empowered to tackle the challenges of motherhood, and feel like she is doing a great job. The kids will be more willing to be obedient to a happy mother. The longer I have been married (which isn’t that long), the more I have realized how much of an impact I can have, both good and bad, on my wife’s mood. If I can help her be happy, I know my children would be happier too.
Now, the question becomes How? How I do I love the mother of my children? Simple, keep dating your wife. The same things you did to woo her when you met her, still work…they are “best practices.” The main thing is to see her responsibility as crucial to the marriage and to be willing to do what you expect her to do. If you expect her to change poopy diapers, then you better get the wipes ready to go. If you expect her to cook a nice dinner, then you better don the apron and get cooking my friend. Buying flowers doesn’t always get the dishes clean. I think one of the biggest things men can do, is let your wife take a break. Let her go on “time-out,” not letting anyone in to bug her. Now, I recognize each husband has a variety of responsibilities, and the application of this principle will be different in each marriage, but one way or another, loving the mother of your children needs to be there.
What are your thoughts? What are some ways fathers can love the mother of their children?