What does a good parent do for their children? What specifically, if anything, can only a father do for a child?
It’s an easy question to ask, but complex to answer. Much of what we have in our minds about what good parents do, or don’t do, is based on our own experiences. Since we only have the two parents we’re born with, we depend on secondary sources to evaluate the ones we have: the parents of friends and cousins, television shows, books and movies. And only as we grow into adulthood do we have enough context to see our parents in a broader light, including perhaps the light of the experience of being parents ourselves.
I’ve been thinking about this topic and it’s obviously background for my book The Ghost of My Father (on sale now with great reviews). Without falling into the traps of genders, many of the things good fathers do fall into the general pile of what any good parents does. In drafting this post I wrote many lists about fathers, but in revising I realized much of these lists were really about parenting, and not gender or role specific.
Things good parents do:
- Keep the family safe
- Provide financial resources
- Provide opportunities for children to learn and grow
- Set examples of good behavior
- Enforce rules that are fair
- Are present and happily available with their time
- Create the first healthy emotional relationships children will have
- Model conflict resolution, introspection, goal setting, patience, civic duty, and more
- Be reliable and committed
Things good parents encourage in their children:
- Developing independence and confidence
- Being trustworthy
- Having self-discipline and commitment
- Desire to be helpful
- Learning useful skills
- Following the child’s own dreams and ambitions
This list applies regardless of gender. A single parent could do these things, or two parents of the same sex. What then is the exclusive domain of fathers? What things can fathers do that mothers can not?
Things good fathers do:
- Teach skills important to boys for becoming a man: self-discipline, sports, grooming, how to make friends. A woman could certainly teach these skills if she had them, but perhaps there would be elements missing than only a man would be likely to know?
- Model for girls and boys what a good man is like (trustworthy, respectful, skilled, self-disciplined, confident but humble). But aren’t these just traits of any good person, regardless of gender? Is there some specific element of the idea of man-ness that only a man can demonstrate?
What’s missing from these lists? Or am I wrong and there are more things only fathers can do?
Essay on What Makes Atticus a Good Father?
1237 WordsNov 8th, 20135 Pages
Atticus Finch is a model father created by Harper Lee in the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird. He is an important figure in the Maycomb, Alabama Community. He raises his children, Jean Louise Finch (Scout) and Jeremy Atticus Finch (Jem) with wide sets of morals, disciplines them, and is a true role model. Atticus allows his children to be individuals and does not try to change who they are. He teaches them fairness and equality among many different types of people in Maycomb. He is always teaching his children about how their actions may affect others, then, as a result, devices punishments to teach Scout and Jem valued life lessons. In many situations, Atticus can chastise his children, but he allows them mature and notice their own mistakes…show more content…
Atticus is a wise father and helps his children accept people no matter how they look or act. This is evident when he says “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.” (Lee 33). Throughout the novel, Jem and Scout mature at different paces. Atticus guides his children as they begin to grow and mature. “It ain’t right, Atticus,” said Jem.” “No son, It’s not right.” (Lee 243). When Atticus lost the case, Jem expressed how he felt. He had tears on his face. Here was a turning point for Jem because he was old enough to understand the case. Atticus comforted him and agreed it was not right. Atticus shows affection towards his children when they saved him from trouble with “the mob”. “As they passed under a streetlight, Atticus reached out and massaged Jem’s hair, his one gesture of affection.” (Lee 176). At first, Atticus may have been frustrated with his children being at the office. Then, their innocence saved him. Atticus has many characteristics and is a loving father. Atticus displays a valuable lesson about equality and fairness for his children. He is fair to many people in the community. To start off, Atticus accepted Walter Cunningham into his home. He did not judge the way Walter ate his food. He was an example to Scout when Walter poured the syrup all over everything. “Atticus shook his head at me.” (Lee 27). He knows that Walter’s family is not as fortunate as their family