In his book, Be a Better Dad Today, author Gregory Slayton says there are no lone ranger dads. Every father needs the help and support of friends and older role models.
When we meet with men, they tend not to admit to needing or wanting a lot of social interaction. Still, once we dig a little, most men want to connect with other men in some way. Slayton points out that men have to be selective and choose male friends who are just plain good guys. “We can’t kid ourselves—bad friends trump good intentions. … However, if we consciously seek out men of character, commitment and competence who care deeply about their families, we will be influenced for the better.”
Dads are human too
Dad, picking your friends as an older male is just as important as it was when your parents warned you about hanging around the wrong crowd when you were a teen. Take Allen, for example.
Allen was basically a good man and father. He worked hard as an insurance claims adjuster, tried to spend time with his two kids and also share undivided attention with his wife. But Allen also had flights of fancy. Some of his buddies, both husbands and bachelors, enjoyed playing poker and drinking beer on Saturdays. He envied Frank who roared around on a Harley, and Tim who quit his job to try his hand a script writing for the movies. Occasionally, Allen would allow the guys to lure him to a bar where the number one activity was flirting with the servers. This seems like trouble waiting to happen.
Good friends are committed to the friendship
Let’s be honest. If we dads are ever caught in a situation that tempts us to throw caution to the wind and cross a boundary line by getting into an unwise relationship, loosening the bonds of security or investing in a risky venture, it is reassuring to know that good friends around us will pull us back. It’s like the slogan we often hear: “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.”
Dad, you hold the cue
What does all this mean? Dad, while you are being careful to make smart decisions and keep yourself in check, and select your buddies based on integrity and good character, your children are confronted with the same challenges. Kids are often compelled to fit in with the crowd. They can plow ahead without the benefit of discernment and wisdom. They want to be accepted and recognized as being part of the group. Your kids take their cues from you. If you do it, then it can’t be harmful or bad.
So, it’s time for a little self-examination, Dad. Do you want your children to emulate you? If they followed you around for an entire day, would they be proud of you? If you had time to follow them around all day, are you confident that you would be proud of them? If you have to stop and think about your answer, you need to stop and think … and think some more.