“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”
– Theodore Hesburgh, Catholic Priest and President Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame

One of the first steps in being a positive role model for your children is to love their mother openly and affectionately.  The mother-child bond is easily the hardest bond to break between any two people.  We would all rather be nurtured than disciplined, supported rather than taught, or loved with affection rather than loved with toughness.  It is of little wonder that you seldom hear or read the words “Hi Dad” at sporting events or other public venues.  There is also little doubt that “tough love” is necessary for real life application and personal growth and generally “Daddy” is better equipped to give that.

daddyjeff commentsChildren need to see that their mother is loved.  I have two sons and each deserve to see a proper example on how to love a woman.  That’s not to say I’m claiming to be the perfect husband.  I have many flaws that need correcting – just ask her – but I am 100% sure she knows I love her.  I hope in some conscious or unconscious way they are taking notes, storing up memories, and learning why Daddy looks at Mommy in that way sometimes.

Public displays of affection are okay in my book (to a certain point of course).  I have no intention of getting his and hers matching tattoos or getting arrested for public indecency any time soon.  But… we do hold hands (usually after her initiative), I usually have my hand on her shoulder in church, and cute little peck kisses are not uncommon.  Date night is of the utter importance when we are able to secure a babysitter or our church holds their periodic Parents Night Out.  Keeping close to your wife is so vital to your family structure.  You may not always agree and you may not always want to be in the same room together but you can always reconcile and come back together.  And, well, making up…  that’s just a whole lot of fun.

I’ve come to realize that household chores should be shared as well.  How you share is up to you and your spouse I suppose.  My wife and I have not actually sat down to claim upkeep responsibilities and maybe we should.  My wife has more household duties “assigned” to her by assumption than what is actually considered fair.  Don’t get me wrong, I vacuum, do dishes, work on laundry, etc.  I just  have to admit it’s usually not equal.  And I don’t want to show my sons that it’s okay not to help around the house.  I’m willing to bet that some increased effort on my part to help a little more than I have will go along way in strengthening our relationship.  Either that or hiring a cleaning service if the means presents itself (which would be awesome).

daddyjason commentsI had a conversation with one of my brothers recently that really brings home what Jeff has said here. We were talking about my parents and their little idiosyncrasies and the conversation turned to the ways in which my parents show love for one another. And during that conversation we both realized that neither of us could think of a single instance where we ever doubted that our father truly loves our mother. Throughout all the years we’ve known them, never once has he ever given us a reason to believe he has anything but love and respect for her. Sure, there are times when he might have lost his patience or been upset but not once did he ever say or do anything, even in anger, that made us wonder if he loved our mother.

I think it was not only the love that my dad has for my mother but also the respect he showed her that has rubbed off on us more than anything. My mom and dad were truly equals in their marriage (at least in front of us kids) and in a time when you didn’t necessarily see that equality between man and woman.

This love and respect that I grew up witnessing on a daily basis is now the basis for my marriage and is what I hope to show my daughter through my actions towards her mother. Like Jeff, I know I’m not perfect. However, the one thing I hope I can do is show my daughter that her mother is loved.

I hope that my daughter will grow up knowing that she too deserves to be treated with nothing but love and respect. It’s so easy in today’s world, for girls especially, to grow up with so many insecurities that they often make poor decisions. If we daddies can help our daughters, even a little, by showing them how a good husband and a good daddy loves then it should be a very easy gift to give.