Family Works

Speaking on fathers

Rob Coombs ID. Min. Ph.D.
Posted 6/18/17

One can hardly pick up the daily newspaper, watch the evening news, or read an article in a magazine without hearing or seeing something about contemporary fathers.

Writing, studying and …

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Family Works

Speaking on fathers


One can hardly pick up the daily newspaper, watch the evening news, or read an article in a magazine without hearing or seeing something about contemporary fathers.

Writing, studying and conversing about contemporary fathers is in vogue.

The ways in which they are facing our perplexing and challenging times are as varied as the men themselves — some responsible, some irresponsible, some poor, some rich, some abusive, some nurturing, some absent, some present, but all caught in the currents of changing times.

I, like other fathers, have been deeply immersed in these changing times. After 20 years of caring for two children while balancing the demands of full-time work, continuing education, and attempting to maintain some semblance of a personal life, I learned that greater challenges exist within the home than outside — the demand for sensitivity, objectivity, fairness, patience, and trust which would challenge any corporate position. I also learned something even more significant. Being a loving father and a good husband are the best parts of being a man. I now know that if I had missed out in experiencing a higher level of intimacy with my family through some lack of increased involvement, I would have missed out on one of the greatest rewards life can offer.

In working with fathers, studying fathers and writing about fathers, I have found several characteristics that make for good fathers. Since it is Father’s Day, I thought it would be more than appropriate to share them with you.

(1) Good fathers are flexible. Flexible fathers refuse role segregation. They know they can handle a variety of different situations. From performing at the office to performing within the home, these fathers can freely use intellectual and emotional skills. Reading to their children, playing games, helping to clean house, soothing a broken heart are as important tasks as filing a report, balancing a budget or making a sales pitch.

(2) Good fathers are emotionally available. Sitting cross-legged on the floor, these fathers read to their children, celebrate their successes and lend a shoulder to cry on when they grieve. Children can count themselves fortunate to have a father who freely expresses himself by tenderly caring for them and making himself emotionally available to them. They are the children who are not only more likely to stay out of serious trouble such as juvenile delinquency, pregnancy, or drug addiction but also are more likely to achieve higher levels of well-being in their adult lives.

(3) Good fathers recognize the spiritual needs of their children. Teaching children about ultimate meaning, and modeling values such as honesty, caring, love, and forgiveness, is seen as part of the essentials of being a good father.

(4) Good fathers have high expectations for themselves. Being a good father is priority. Rather than being camped out in front of the TV, good fathers make time to be actively involved with their children.

(5) Good fathers are satisfied. No job is perfect. No family is perfect. No person is perfect. In spite of imperfections and weaknesses, good fathers are basically satisfied. Satisfaction of fathers is pivotally important to the overall satisfaction of the families. Such fathers influence their families in a positive manner which, in turn, positively affects their own sense of well-being.

Above all, remember on this Father’s Day that a father who puts his child first is giving a great gift to a child, a gift that far exceeds any other that can be given.

Rob Coombs is a professor with a doctor of ministry degree and a doctor of philosophy with an emphasis in Family Systems.


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