Learning about Fatherhood from the Kung Fu Panda

kung fu panda+dadDads play a unique–and vital–role in their children’s life. And a dad’s children play an equally unique–and equally vital–role in his life.

Being a dad is a big deal. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. There are plenty of dads out there who struggle with the job; it is not uncommon at all. Whether you are a new dad or an old hat, you and I know one thing for sure: the moment you became a dad, your life changed forever. It is a big commitment but it is also one of the biggest blessings that life can hand you.

The more involved a dad is, the more successful his children are. A dad’s guidance can determine a child’s social life, academic success, and future accomplishments. And being a dad is no doubt a very tough job. But spending time with them, that is a no-brainer. How a dad spends his time tells his kids what is important to him. By sharing time with your kids, you are showing them they are important to you.

I think we can all take a little guidance from Po the protagonist and his father. They have a special relationship, and with the love and support of his father, Po is able to overcome some unique challenges.

Eighty-six percent of dads spend more time with their children today than their own fathers did with them, but a majority of dads (7 out of 10) also reported that they could use tips on how to be a better parent, according to a national survey conducted by the Ad Council. Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior, and avoid high-risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy, and criminal activity compared to children who have uninvolved fathers.

There is no instruction manual for how to be a good dad. You can read the books and glean lessons from them, but you have to put dad-ism into action. It is all about what you do, today. And listen, for your kids, it probably doesn’t even matter WHAT you do, as long as you are enjoying time with them. It could be something as stepping into the kitchen and making a meal together. Pack up a bag and head out on a hike or a short road trip. There are thousands of age appropriate things that can be done with your kids to soak up that quality time.

If you know someone who is struggling as a dad, share this message. Fatherhood.gov and the Ad Council are asking dads everywhere to make an effort to inspire and support men in their commitment to responsible fatherhood. Involvement in the lives of your kids is essential to their well-being.

Are You in Terre Haute, Indiana?

I’ll be in Terre Haute, Indiana next week giving a series of presentations. If you’re in the neighborhood and can make it, please come by and say Hello! Here’s the schedule:

Wednesday, Oct 1, 2-3pm
Parenting Strategies for Military Dads and Families
181st Intelligence Wing
Air National Guard Base Dining Facility

Wednesday, Oct 1, 7-8pm
Campus event: Thinking about Parenthood
Indiana State University
Hulman Memorial Student Union, Dede 1

Thursday Oct 2, 6:00 – 6:45
Single Parents
Sarah Scott Middle School, Cafeteria
1000 Grant Street
Terre Haute, IN 47802

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