I definitely see myself as more of a marriage guy than a parenting guy. Yet, if you are married and have kids, I’m more and more convinced that it’s not really possible to split the two. The way you parent is so closely related to the quality and challenges of your marriage, and vice versa.
I definitely vacillate most days between thinking I’m a great dad and a horrible dad. Most of the time I sit somewhere in between. The challenges of being a great dad led me to pick up the book, The Good Dad, by Jim Daly.
I really liked this book by Daly. While I have read my fair share of parenting (and even dad) books over the years, I have to say this is one of my favorite parenting books. Daly, the President and CEO of Focus on the Family, draws on a good combination of personal stories and stories from the ministry of Focus on the Family.
Daly’s personal story is nothing short of incredible. He comes from a series of broken homes, and has a passion to lead his family in a radically different way from his own upbringing. With his past, he brings a level of credibility to the table – the man clearly has something to say about what NOT to do, fueled by his own dysfunctional upbringing.
Below are a few of my highlights from the book:
- Chapters 1 & 2 build the case for why we need more ‘Good Dads.’ Between the statistics of broken homes, single parent families, and the significant role of the father, the need is raised and Daly gets your attention. He also does a great job of identifying with the insecurities and fears most dads face. You can’t help but feel like you are not alone in your fears and anxieties.
- Daly spends a fair amount of time on the basic premise that dads need to be present in the lives of their children. It’s cliche but real: Kids want our presence much more than they want our presents. While they do love presents, kids more than anything just want their dads to be with them and to not be absent.
- Chapter 7 is my favorite chapter in the book. Maybe because of my own personal challenges, this chapter hit me hard. This chapter deals with the promises we make to our kids. Daly writes, “When our parents break a promise, we remember it forever.” This line (and chapter) has significantly challenged me.
Kristen challenged me on some broken promises a few weeks into our new marriage 13 years ago, and the topic is raised to a priority in my life again with regard to promises I make to my kids. Daly says, “A broken promise makes the child feel unworthy. Less. Diminished.” I want to be known as a dad who keeps his promises, whose kids can watch and see what a man of integrity lives and looks like.
- All of our discipline of our children must be marked by love. Seems obvious, but I needed the reminder as I can be too firm with my kids and not remind them of both my love for them and the Father’s love for us (Hebrews 12:11).
- The book is filled with great questions at the end of each chapter. I really enjoyed and was challenged by the questions. Here is one that specifically challenged me: “If you could have another day with your father, how would you spend it (if he was no longer alive)? If your father is still alive, is it possible to have that day with him now?”
- Last, I appreciate the ways Daly encourages the reader to intentionally think through the legacy they will leave behind with their children.
Overall, I would recommend this book. I am challenged and inspired by Daly’s own story, I liked the questions throughout, and thought it was easy to read (albeit a little slow at times). Daly has accomplished the goal of his tagline – helping fathers become the father you are meant to be.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255; “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”