In the “olden days”, child-rearing was left to the mothers, with dads only dishing out discipline when mom needed help. My mother talks about when I was born, my dad was totally hands-off with me. He would hold me occasionally but that was the extent of his part in childrearing. As I got older, he was the punisher. The term “just wait until your dad gets home” evoked the deepest terror. He was a harsh taskmaster with a hand as hard as steel on backsides. Words of praise were very rare because he didn’t want his kids getting the big-head. No I-love-yous were spoken. But he was a much better dad to me than his dad was to him, for which I am thankful.
That hand-off philosophy changed with the next generation of dads. Hubby helped take care of our kids when he was home. I was the stay-at-home mom who was the primary caregiver of our kids, but he changed diapers and rocked them and fed them baby food. He took them out to irrigate and do things together. He praised them and told them he loved them lots of times. There was more teamwork when our kids were growing up.
Today, my son is the primary care-giver of his kids because he works from home while his wife goes to work at the university. He does more for them than I ever did for him. His boys are well fed, well loved, well praised, and well taken care of. He and his wife do everything with them. The boys are blessed with a loving home which is the greatest blessing of all.
Childrearing done right is hard, time-consuming work. It’s not appreciated until years later. My best advice to dads is to be the kind of people you want your kids to be. Love your kids’ mothers. Your kids watch your every move and imitate them. You want good kids? Be a good parent and good role model.
I want to say thanks to my dad who mellowed over time and now tells me he loves me. I’m one of the lucky ones whose dad is still around. Thanks to my father-in-law who taught Hubby so many things. Thanks to my son for being such a great dad to my grandsons. Thanks to dads everywhere who put in the work and time with their kids. Thanks to the grandfathers who support those dads and kids. Keep up the good work!
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and your mother, which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth. Galatians 6:1-3
Your experience reflects mine with my dad. As we got older, and especially after his grandkids came along, he opened up to the joy of having fun with kids. Glad you can still enjoy time with your dad.