What is a father’s mission in our modern age? As our world becomes more connected, more turbulent and more violent – is the role of the father under threat?
I’m writing these words on the evening of the London Parliament terror attacks. The stability and relative peace that our own fathers enjoyed is coming to an end. We now live in an age of uncertainty: economic, social, political.
In this age of uncertainty the role of the father is changing. Your role is changing. And while some of these changes are good, not all change is good. Not all change will benefit you or the children you are trying to raise.
Imagine what the role of the father will be in another ten or twenty years. Will it continue to be a positive influence on children. Or are you at the threshold of being culturally sidelined.
You Matter Now More than Ever
This book is about you. You might not know it but when I was writing and putting it together I imagined that I was writing it especially for you. We don’t know each other very well but by the time you’re finished this short book, we will.
This book is about you and your journey to be a better father. I hope it’s a journey we’re on together. And if it’s not a journey we’re on together, it’s my wish that we soon will be. If you cruise the pages of this book, you’ll see a big focus on you. Y-O-U. That’s not a mistake. This isn’t a parenting book. This is a book on fatherhood and the elements that make up a successful, driven, committed, loving and protecting Dad. All of those traits come from you.
This is what I truly believe: to become a better father you must become a better man. That’s not a criticism – we all have different starting points. What is important is the journey you’re taking to become a better man. And therefore a better father.
What is your motivation to become a better Dad? My motivation is simple: Dads matter more in our modern times than ever. We live in a time when pornography, junk food and wall to wall entertainment is on tap. Our kids will grow up with near permanent connection to the World Wide Web. And while that’s positive in some ways, in others it can be a negative influence. It’s our responsibility to raise our kids right and to pass on our values onto them.
Why? Because it will probably save their lives. Recent studies have shown that kids who have an involved Dad at home are less likely to:
Here’s the thing: there are no quick fixes to personal improvement. There’s no sachet of ‘Instant Better Dad – just add hot water’. It’s a slow, hard grind. It takes work – more work than you’d have ever imagined. But if you’re up for the challenge then this is the right book for you.
‘Why bother?’ I hear the less committed ask. Turn on your TV and you’re bombarded with images of deadbeat or ‘Star Wars Dads’ who’d rather sit and play computer games or watch live streaming Sci-Fi repeats than put the work in to improve their lives and the lives of those around them.
This book is the antidote to that style of fatherhood.
I have to admit that this book has transformed from a short ‘best of’ my blog – ThisDadDoes.com – into something deeper and stronger than I’d ever imagined. It’s been a crystallisation of my understanding of what our generation of fathers need now more than ever. Is the book’s subject matter diverse? You bet. I’ll happily jump from spirituality to easy-to-cook recipes. But there’s a method to this madness – to be a good Dad you must be skilled and competent in a range of disciplines and skills.
Six Pillars for Strong Fatherhood in Our Modern Times
I’ve divided this book into six parts or ‘pillars’. These six pillars form the foundations of strong fatherhood. But they also complement each other. In the same way that a series of pillars keep a roof or a ceiling up, these pillars form six areas of your life that are critical to becoming a strong father.
These pillars are:
A Father’s Mission
Spirituality and Self Control
Fitness and Physical Health
All of these disciplines have individual value but when put together they begin to shape you into the father you want to be.
Some of these will challenge you, but at the same time I hope you are comforted. What do I mean by that? I want you to see that you’re already doing a good job as a Dad and that it might only take a few small adjustments to bring your life back into focus.
How to Use this Book
You’ll get the best experience from this book if you start at the beginning and read it all the way through once. You’ll find practical advice and ideas on nearly every page. But I’d also encourage you to take time to read a second time and focus on the chapters that you feel you need most work and attention. If something inspires you, highlight it and save it for later.
At the end of most chapters you’ll find an ‘Action’ for you to do. Knowledge without application is worthless, but we’ll get to that. I wrote this book so that you would enjoy reading it. Find a quiet place where you won’t be distracted, turn your phone off and focus.