Sunday, June 21, 2015

Highly Effective Father

Happy Father's Day!

Dan has officially been a father for six years, although based on his love for his daughters, one would think he's been a dad much, much longer. As if to drive this point home, Lana's birthday actually sometimes falls on Father's Day. It seems fitting that the birth of his oldest child should be celebrated at the same time we recognize him.

I read an article recently called 10 Traits of Highly Effective Dads. It's interesting and made me think about how effective Dan is as a father.

Oh, let me count the ways:
(Bold headlines are from the article. Italicized comments are mine.)

1. They keep their lives de-compartmentalizedThey are the same man, husband and father regardless of where and when.  Dan is Dan is Dan. He's the same man at church, at work, out watering the garden, or roughhousing with the children.
2. They realize that their manhood and fatherhood is directly tied to their relationship with God.    I think Dan learned this from his own Dad and it was the most natural thing in the world to continue in his own life.  
3. If married, they uphold their wives as their number one friend and co-worker in life.  I've never not felt that I was Dan's number one friend and co-worker. I'm also his number one fan!
4. They practice the discipline of meekness.  They exemplify the combination of humility and strength.   Dan is strong for our family, not strong at our family. He's a solid disciplinarian, but has never punished out of rage or anger. He's also a great comforter when little hearts are hurting. 
5. They’ve tied their hearts to the hearts of their children.  Dan knows the relationship he has with Lana and Nora is so completely unique and special. He knows he is their first hero and one of their two most important teachers. He doesn't take this responsibility lightly.

6. They honor their child’s gender and unique giftedness.  Dan will be the first to tell you, he's been, um, surprised by having two little girls.  But surprise does not equal disappointment or regret. He's used to the dancing and singing, doesn't mind all the pink, and only mildly freaks out when vacuuming up glitter. He's also been able to effectively bond with the girls over dirt and 4-wheeler rides.
7. They are great listeners and make themselves available for those “by the way” teaching moments and conversations with their children.  Heart-string moments often aren't planned, but just happen, and Dan is there to catch them when they do. Lana will take 20 minutes to tell a 2 minute story, and Dan will listen (or at least pretend to) until she gets to the point and they can de-brief.
8. They make their children feel special and believe in them.  Just as she knows her ABCs, Lana knows her Daddy thinks she's special. He takes her for special milkshake-dates, lets her "help" in the garden, and is told how awesome she is. She knows she's loved, and she knows she'll always have her Daddy in her corner. (Nora likely knows all this too, she just can't verbalize it yet.)
9. Mercy and grace are a part of their households.  There is nothing fake about Dan. When he messes up, just as we all do, he'll apologize and ask for forgiveness, even to his children. I've had to do this a time or two also, and know that's it's humbling and hard, but necessary. He then easily offers the same forgiveness he's been given. 
10. They take care of the fundamentals or basics.  If there's a problem, or a need to be met, Dan is on it. This man works harder than anyone I've ever known. It's part of his DNA, and likely he'd be a hard worker even if he didn't have kids. But I know he works harder because he's got a family depending on him. 
So, according to that list, Dan is an incredibly effective dad. Of course, I would agree!
Happy Father's Day Dan! You are loved, appreciated, and adored by the two little girls and the big one too!

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