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Monday, June 10, 2013

Five Traits of a Great Dad

What does it mean to be a great dad, to live up to the hype of Father’s Day?  Here are some thoughts about that, accumulated over years of watching great, imperfect dads in action.

  1. Great dads care how their kids are doing. Whether they express it perfectly or not, when dad is pressing us to achieve, criticizing our decisions, asking us a litany of questions, giving us advice or simply telling us he cares, it’s all the same. He gives a hoot.
  2. Great dads feel responsible. It could be a sense of responsibility to teach us, support us or protect us, or it could simply be that they know their actions and opinions have an impact on us. Great dads feel like they’ve got to be able to be relied on.
  3. Great dads see us for who we are. Whether we’re walking in their footsteps or blazing new trails, great dads see us for how we’re distinct from them, from their hopes and dreams for us, and from what we might have been like in an earlier era.
  4. Great dads have reactions. Those reactions might not be expressed or framed in a way we know what to do with right away, but a great dad reacts to things he believes will affect our lives. Because they care, great dads react when they think we’re on or off course, in or out of a good circumstance, and more.
  5. Great dads are embarrassing. Yep, it might be that they wear their pant cuffs too high, walk out of the house with a bit of tissue on a nick from shaving, cheer too loudly from the sidelines, or hold and express opinions far different from our own. We get embarrassed because they’re ours; and despite our embarrassment, we’re glad they are ours.

So, this Father’s day, all of us here at Benevolent want to celebrate our imperfect, embarrassing, reactive, insightful dads who give a hoot by doing something they taught us to do. Great dads stick their necks out and step in.

In honor of Father’s Day, let’s do that, too. Let’s step in and react to someone who’s in a bind. Let’s embarrass dad by honoring him for the guy he really is - the guy who’s made a difference in our lives and taught us how to make a difference for someone else.

I’ve created a special Father’s Day giving page highlighting some of the stories on the Benevolent site that I think might pique the interest of the dads in our lives. Here’s a link to it.

Last year, I made my dad cry when I contributed to someone in his honor. This year, let’s make all our dads know how much they’re appreciated, in all their imperfection.

- megan kashner
  founder & ceo