This is the final chapter of The Real Dad Rules which I have shared chapter by chapter on this blog for the past ten months or so. Today’s chapter, like all the previous chapters, can very easily apply to moms and dads alike.
Let me start this chapter by first reminding you that real dads aren’t perfect, and never will be. A father becomes a real dad the first day he begins working to better himself as a parent, so long as he begins doing so with a determination to work without stopping, to improve himself without end, and to bounce back every time he slips-up or stumbles. It doesn’t matter how old his children are, or how far he has to go, he becomes a real dad simply by starting the process, and he doesn’t cease to be a real dad until the day he stops trying.
Some dads are golden dads. We admire them and we try to be like them. For these dads, learning and implementing the Real Dad Rules seems simple enough. These dads appear to have majestic tongues, incapable of anger or hurtful words directed at their children. They understand and always seem to implement proper discipline. They rarely struggle stepping over lines that others fathers seem to constantly struggle with. For dads like these, simple reminders is sometimes all that is needed.
For other dads, where to even begin is overwhelming and to others perhaps it is even discouraging. The good news is, every father who chooses to remain a part of his child’s life has an innate sense of what is right and what is wrong when it comes to parenting. Even in the moments in which he finds himself acting in direct opposition of what he knows is healthy and right for his child, he cannot lie to himself about it and truly believe it. Because of this innate sense, there is not a father on the planet who is incapable of being a good dad and a real dad.
Some dads will feel discouraged because the only examples of parenting that they have witnessed were nowhere close to healthy. Others will feel consumed in their frustration that they have a difficult time controlling their tempers. Some dads feel so absorbed in their professional lives, that they have no idea where to begin distancing themselves from work and how to offer more of themselves to their children.
Some dads will feel the pain of past abuse or neglect constantly haunting and affecting their every action. Some dads feel doomed to repeat the mistakes that they have always seemed to make, no matter how hard they have tried repeatedly to overcome them. Some dads are buried by their addictions, whether those addictions be tobacco, drugs, pornography, gambling, sex, or alcohol.
There are some dads who feel that it is too late to begin at all. They feel that the damage already done to their relationships with their children is far too extensive and irreparable, or that their children are too old. Some dads see themselves as monsters through the eyes of their children, and they have a hard time believing that their children could ever see or believe anything different.