What Our Dads Did Right

"The thing he really did right was
to be part of my everyday life."

What Our Dads Did Right

"The thing he really did right was
to be part of my everyday life."

What Our Dads Did Right

In 1990, our rookie dads talked about their own father as part of their self-introduction. Their descriptions ranged from “great” to “emotionally distant” to “didn’t have one around.” In 2010, we switched to “name one thing your dad did right.” While we still occasionally heard “my dad was a douche bag,” the picture that emerged is a profound statement on the possibilities of your own future as a dad:

  • He was always supportive of anything I wanted to do, even if he didn't like it. I always respected him a lot for that. 
  • My dad was always there to support us with our dreams and aspirations. He was always behind me one hundred percent. 
  • Aside from being there for my sports, he instilled character in me and taught me to be a man of integrity. Also took off the day before we started our new school year to do something fun. 
  • ... was always supportive of anything I wanted to do, even if he didn't like it. I always respected him a lot for that. 
  • My dad was always there to support us with our dreams and aspirations. He was always behind me one hundred percent. 
  • My dad was a workaholic… but at 5:30 every night dinner was ready and we were all around the table. So no matter what happens during the day, that's where we go; that's where we become a family and hang out and talk about everything. That's the most important thing, and I hope I can do that with my son as well. 
  • Most everything – I had a good dad. He retired when I was really young just so he could be with me.  
  • My dad’s been a strong figure in the family and pretty much everything I’ve learned, I’ve learned from him.
  • The man I call my father started dating my mother when she was pregnant with me. Which, now with a pregnant wife, I look and I think my dad really had a lot of love for someone. And so I’m very thankful and try for some of those selfless characteristics that he has. 
  • The thing my dad did right was include me in his life. He wasn’t really a kid person, but at a very early age he showed me the ins and outs of a machine shop, so I’d work alongside him.
  • He always made time. Not just for the family as a whole, but for each of the individual children. Whether it be fishing trips, or camping, or going to Home Depot together. So, I want to make sure I can do that with our child.

To be a dad means to sacrifice for your family, to be its rock, a shoulder to lean on, teaching by example, enjoying life, having fun, laughing, showing you care, being of service, getting the job done, and being there for your kids no matter what. 

Read on…there’s apparently no limit to what our dads did right.

  • Working hard for us, supporting what I wanted to do.
  • Showing he cared; when he had the time he spent it on me.
  • Even if he wasn't the best, the fact he was trying meant a lot.
  • Not a verbal teacher; I learned a lot from his example.
  • Respect others and treat them the way I want to be treated.
  • He put his family first, himself last.
  • If I had a problem, any problem, he would help me fix it.
  • He never bailed out when things weren't easy.
  • He wasn’t perfect, but he was my dad.
  • The thing that he really did right was to be a part of my everyday life.
  • He put me before anything, but he died young so I didn’t get to know him really well.
  • He was always very honest. Never sugar-coated reality. I plan on doing that as well.
  • Very dependable – was always there and someone I could rely on.
  • Worked really hard and made a lot of financial sacrifices.
  • He never put my mom down, even though they were divorced.
  • Never really pushed me to do anything I didn’t want to do – he let me make my own decisions – pretty cool.
  • He was my best role model.
  • He was a good person.
  • He was very involved.
  • He wasn’t around a lot, so that’s something I want to do differently.
  • He wasn’t really good at interacting with kids.
  • He died when I was sixteen, and I didn’t know him growing up. But he taught me respect for my mom and respect for moms in general because he adored his mom. 
  • He was there. He was instilled that the man is the provider and, financially, he made sure we had what we needed.
  • He was a great dad. He always talked to me as an adult and explained reasons for everything.  
  • He wasn’t around much, but when he was, he was like a friend.
  • Taught me how to be a good person.
  • Taught me humbleness.
  • My dad was pretty outdoorsy and we became better friends later on, but I got to do a lot of fun stuff. I have friends that are just now going camping for the first time.
  • He was around a lot and did little league, boy scouts and stuff, so I look back on my childhood with happy memories.
  • When I was younger, he was really involved in boy scouts. That was pretty cool.
  • We had four kids in our family and he worked two jobs, but always made time to take care of us and do stuff with us, taking time out to take us places.
  • Very supportive when we were growing up.
  • Very supportive – always there.
  • He taught me responsibility – always be responsible for your actions.
  • Generosity.
  • Love for beer.
  • Really involved – coached soccer.
  • My dad was a pretty good father. He let me follow him around, and I followed him around all the time. And he let me watch whatever he was doing.
  • Supporting me with my art growing up and giving me a sense of calmness.
  • Learning useful stuff and about how to deal with life.
  • Made family very important.
  • Good, strong work ethic. Was always there for myself and my sister.
  • Made sure food was on the table and took the time to be with us.
  • Always put family first
  • Always there – made time for family
  • He was always like a friend to go to. He would always be on your side
  • He taught by example. Always showed us education and work were big things.
  • My mom passed away when I was young, so he was both and we have a great connection. Hopefully I can have that same connection with my baby.
  • He taught us that if you want something, with hard work, you can go and get it. And he taught us to be humble.
  • Taught me two very important things: Family first and get physical.
  • Seeing how close he was to my mom.
  • My father was the Rock of Gibraltar. He wasn’t a real emotional guy but was there all the time.
  • Hard work.
  • My father was military and so a lot of my childhood he wasn’t there, but when he was the, he was there.  That’s one thing I wouldn’t change.
  • My dad worked a lot and wanted me to become independent, which was great. My mom wasn’t so concerned about that and she spoiled me. I want to make sure my wife and I teach our boy to be independent.
  • My dad was in the military and when he was home he taught me a lot. He taught me discipline, love, support, compassion. My parents are still married to this day.
  • Always supportive.
  • My dad was pretty supportive and always gave great advice. I would like to be that dad.
  • He was always there for me.
  • Real strong sense of family – he was always there (even if you didn’t want him to be). He was a real big baby person and that always struck me.
  • My dad was around a lot and that’s what I want to do.
  • My dad was all around great – he’s going to be a great grandfather.
  • Good work ethic. Good family man. I’m just trying to fill his shoes.
  • Patience and just always being there.
  • He taught me a lot about fixing things.
  • Amazing work ethic and dedication. I want to make sure my kids know how to work.
  • My father worked a lot, but he was really involved in the extra-curricular activities and didn’t try to control me as a teenager.
  • Not to be too big of a dreamer – to be more of a doer and do the biggest thing we can. Be grounded and follow through.
  • Very supportive and worked two to three jobs to support our family. He always was there for my sister and myself.
  • Very humble guy. Worked really hard to support us. Would come home for dinner then go back to work at his business.
  • There’s no such thing as being there too much. He was pretty hands-on and always available and always there.  He taught me that it’s ok to tell mom that she needs to relax and that I could do things.