How Do I Know

Today’s question actually came from a friend several month’s ago.  “Rick” and his wife have an infant son.  Rick is a great guy but tends to worry (like many parents) and sometimes that worry leads to asking loaded questions.  Rick’s specific question to me was “How do I know if I am doing a good job (being a father)?” Though today’s answer applies to fatherhood, women should take note.  Many of the things I am going to talk about applies to mothers as well.  Therefore, I am going to direct my answer to Rick towards parents in general.

The reason I call this a loaded question is it depends on what one’s definition of a good parent is.  I gave him an answer that sufficed for the time being.  I wanted to share that answer but I also wanted to expand on it because I’ve had several months to think about it since.  Keep in mind this is a blog not a book.  I’m certain to leave out some important details and that’s where you come in.  If you believe after reading this I left something out, feel free to add it to the comments section at the bottom of the post.

One of the keys in assessing Rick’s “job” performance occurred when he questioned himself.  Reflection is a big theme in my Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures book and it certainly applies here.  I wonder if Rick is trying to model himself after someone else and if so, how is he doing?  Before I get any trailblazers piping up, remember that parenting has been going on since the beginning on man.  Odds are most of your good (and bad) ideas with kids have probably been used by someone before you.  As for me, I’ve modeled myself after specific men and women from St. Joseph Children’s Home.  It is a good thing I listened and learned because I did not grow up with a father. 

Another key is what are you providing to your child to help him/her grow?  I’m sure there are many things but some that come to mind are religious beliefs, time, finances, love, caring, education, understanding, discipline, sympathy, and direction.  Generally speaking, parents would claim they provide these things so let’s push the idea.  Which areas are your weakest and should be attacked now?   When you figure out that answer and attack it, you’re doing a better job as a parent already.

The truth, in the end, as to how you are doing as a parent can be seen in the eyes of your child.  As they are growing up, are they reflecting the values you are teaching them?  Are they someone to be modeled by other children; or someone to be avoided?  Are they respectful to all adults and specifically, their mother?  These answers can be found quickly.  All a parent has to do is pay attention.  Another piece of the puzzle is once you find the answers, do you settle or do you continue to parent and build upon these traits.

US Supreme Court building, front elevation, st...Image via WikipediaPossibly this story will sum it up best.  I remember hearing about a 1964 Supreme Court case (Jacobellis v. Ohio) where they were talking about whether a movie was pornographic.  I am paraphrasing but Justice Potter Stewart said, “I can’t define pornography; but I know it when I see it.”  When you see good parenting occurring, take mental notes and apply them when the time is right.  Many times, the “job” of a parent is to read, react, and regroup.  I’m sure if you can accomplish this, not only are you a good parent but you’re going to get better every day.

My next blog will be posted Monday and it will focus on an educational theme.  Until then, have a great weekend!

28 comments

  1. Jenny H says:

    Thanks for the follow! I'm now following you back.Great informative blog! Can't wait to read more!Jenny

  2. Debbie says:

    Following you back. Insightful blog! Thanks for sharing.Debbie from nofiltermom.blogspot.com

  3. Semper Fi Momma says:

    this is a really good post. Thank you!! New official follower, but I've been lurking and reading for a while.

  4. Chanceability says:

    Sorry my blog went in a circle today….it was a rant morning…I am better now…I was offered a wonderful career shortly after that post…I took the Chance and Made it a Possibility which became a Definitely…..Happy Friday..

  5. Tiffany says:

    Thank you for the follow, I'm following you back now and thank you for your kind words in your comment. I can't wait to delve a little deeper into your blog, seeing parenting from a father's POV is interesting..

  6. Not a Perfect Mom says:

    thanks for your comment…sorry for the punch in the gut…this is the first daddy blog I've come across…nice!and when my kids model their parenting by what my hubs and myself have done…then I'll truly know we've done it right…

  7. mombo880 says:

    Thank you for the comment! It's nice to have a follower that isn't related to me :) My husband and I talk about the "good dad/parent" thing often. He grew up with a stepdad that really wanted no part of him and didn't have a dad at all. So he has struggled a bit with the whole "father" thing, like what a "good" parent does. Our boys are 15 and 11 and if they don't get their way about things you get an under the breath comment sometimes about him being a bad dad. I tell him they say that because they have NO CLUE what a bad dad really is. If they did know what a bad dad was they certainly wouldn't call him that! I try to explain that to them too, and our oldest can get it. Our youngest is coming around.

  8. Jen M says:

    Thanks for the follow :)

  9. Sarah, Three Boys says:

    Following back! Thanks so much for stopping by ThreeBoys!

  10. Danielle @ "We says:

    Thanks for stopping by & following… I am following back :)A quote from Rosanne: "If my kids are alive at the end of the day, I have done my job"You can't argue with that!

  11. Songberries says:

    What a great post, I needed a chance to self evaluate.Thank you for stopping by my blog and following me. I'm following you now.Songberries

  12. Just Married with Co says:

    Hi, thank you so much for stopping by to visit, we are happily following your blog. I like this post and you really put forth some great self reflection questions that any parent could benefit from. Thank you!

  13. Teresa Choplin @ tch says:

    Thanks for the follow, I'm following you back. Love the picture of the boys and wife, what a beautiful family you have!

  14. Emily Joyce says:

    Thanks for following me at Scribbles From Emily! This was a really good post, I especially agree with the the point you made about judging your parenting by how the child behaves, are they respectful, etc. Of course, at the same time, I know of parents who did their best and did "all the right things" but their children still went down the wrong paths.This is the only the second daddy blog I've found, so I'm excited to read more!

  15. Alicia Stucky says:

    Hi, I'm a new follower to the blog. This is the first daddyblog I'm following, can't wait to read more. Hoping to spark a little bit of activity on my blog by snatching a few new readers. Would love for you to stop by and add to some discussions! aliciastucky.blogspot.com

  16. Mommy Ink Well says:

    Thanks for your comment, Clay. I think part of being a good parent is knowing that you are not and should not be your child's "friend". Having clear boundaries is important. Some parents tend to confuse the two. Good topic.

  17. Leslie says:

    Great post!! Thanks for your comment on my blog. I am now YOUR newest follower!(:

  18. Ashley says:

    I am now following your blog, thanks for becoming a follower of mine

  19. Amy says:

    Very good post. I am now your newest follower!! Enjoyed your post and the pik above is adorable.

  20. BeeCute says:

    Well said!Thanks for stopping by my blog, and Im following u back!

  21. dswalkerauthor.com says:

    Found your blog through Nan's Follow Me Friday. Great Post!

  22. The White Whimsies says:

    Thanks so much for stopping by and following my blog. I am now following yours as well. Have a great day!

  23. MishMish says:

    Thanks for the follow…I'm now following you back from the blog hop! I'm excited to read the questions you get and all the answers that come!

  24. Shauna says:

    Hi, I am new to following you… looks great, so interesting:)

  25. laughwithusblog says:

    My favorite book on parenting is Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp. Parenting. So easy. So difficult!

  26. Doreen McGettigan says:

    Great advice! I am a new visitor and follower via Java and look forward to getting to know you :)

  27. Raven says:

    Hi,

    Thanks for following and being part of P.P.TW Fun Weekend Blog Hop. Im following back! Have a great week.

  28. Alison says:

    Thanks for sharing. We are constantly assessing the job we do as parents. And covering our children with prayer…which covers a multitude of our mistakes.Thanks for sharing at Fridays Unfolded. Hope to see you again!Blessings,Alison

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