Abby’s Diary: Qualities of a Great Dad!

Happy Father’s Day weekend and a special shout out to Juan, my husband, and father of our two children Alexis & Justin, for all the love, support, adventure, laughter, discipline, and life’s lessons you teach us daily.

It’s been said many times before that any man can be a father or make a child but it takes a real man to be a great dad! Being a dad requires a balance of super-human strength and a soft heart at the same time.

The instinct to love and protect is as natural as the sun rising in the east. The capacity to show love while still exercising restraint, and knowing when to not let that love allow your children to take advantage of, or get away with, the things that will ultimately hurt them, or keep them from learning the lessons necessary to grow up and become mature responsible individuals makes for a great dad.

Great dads teach us to appreciate things, the beauty, the history, and the significance that they play in how we get to live the lives we have today. In our case Juan does this by taking us on trips to see the world. We laugh because we say he can’t sit still for five minutes if you put him on a beach and if you happen to be with him in a big city or Italy bring your walking shoes because he lights up and off we go to see everything the place has to offer. When the children recently thanked him for the trip to Italy, his response was “it’s my responsibility as their father to show them the world so they can learn as much as they can about how others live and what the world has to offer them.

Another lesson great dad’s teach is responsibility. Juan is generous to a fault. He is the first guy to pull his credit card out at any restaurant. He loves sharing his blessings with everyone. He asks for little in return. He didn’t bat an eye when we went way over budget for Lexi’s wedding, or when I asked to quit a six figure job and drive a sno-cone truck, or when Justin chose Auburn over the four-year Florida pre-paid program we had invested in. All he asks in return is that you do your very best, take good care of what you’ve been given, and do the one or two things that absolutely make him crazy when you don’t. For example, keep your car clean, dress for success, and practice good hygiene. Juan has a sniffer that will rival any bear. Most people think dogs have a great sense of smell but in the animal kingdom dogs rank #9 while bears and Juan rank #1. You just can’t put a leash on a bear to sniff drugs or bombs even though they’d be a great deterrent to would be criminals. In our case Papa Bear is almost OCD over smells. Just ask him when you see him to tell you all about his prized possession of three sets of “wooly balls.”

Great dads also teach us about relationships by the way they interact with their wife. The love, respect, value he places on her opinion, the support he offers when in need, the way he looks at his wife, or how much time he wants to spend with her will tell you a lot about how much he believes in family values, love, and the commitment he made.

A good hard work ethic is another lesson learned from a great dad and no one works harder at his job than Juan 24/7 365 days a year. He loves God, his family, his people and his work. He wants everyone to be successful and love what they do. He hates to disappoint anyone that puts their faith and trust in him.

A great dad also sets a good example about how important faith, prayer, and gratitude are for a good life. When I see Juan close his eyes and move his lips at Mass I know he is asking for the guidance and strength to be a good man, father, boss and example to anyone that is watching him.

Finally I believe a great dad teaches you how to laugh and find joy in everyday life. As a woman I am still amazed at the boyish behavior that some of the most successful men I know exhibit. Start with one good “fart” story and before you know it everyone is rolling on the floor in hearty belly laughs. And when everyone is laughing that hard you start laughing, because it’s genuine, human, real, and contagious. You just can’t help yourself.

No one is a perfect dad. Everyone makes mistakes. Some dads possess or do all these things, some do none. I hope you don’t mind if I steal this cliché but “if you can’t be with the dad you love, than love the dad you’re with” he’s doing the best he knows how to do. Remember he may not have had a role model father either to teach him.

God bless our fathers this day and every day as they play such a significant role in the lives of our children, and our future. Happy Father’s Day!!!

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