For many years we have been, quite rightly, acknowledging moms and the balancing act that they have to maintain to do all the things that good moms do. More recently attention has started to focus on the vital role of dads in the healthy and positive upbringing of their children. At last, one organization has stepped forward and declared its intention to provide a program for dads in their desire to be the best they possibly can.

Families Matter has already offered two evening workshops for fathers and will be providing more in the fall. Dads are being recruited to train as facilitators and mentors, making it a self-sustaining and continuing process and one that demonstrates how men are fully able to step forward and provide support to each other.

Here’s a peek at some of the secrets to be shared at the workshops. They are from the information leaflet 5 Things Great Dads Do.

1 - Be There

Even when you find it tough to be there as much as you'd like, when you are with your children be fully present with them. That means listening to them, being involved with them as much as they'd like, sharing yourself with them and of course playing with them. Your presence is what they want and what they need; being around you, being noticed by you, being interested in them, wanting you to understand how they feel. That's being there.

2 - Be You

Don't try to pretend that you are like mom; you can't be her, and she can't be you. Don't try to be what you think you are supposed to be. Actually, both of those things are easier than the third option, which is just to be you. How can your kids know who you really are if you haven't figured it out for yourself, and if you don't express it? Being the authentic you is one of the greatest gifts you can offer to your children. That’s how they will understand what being a man is, vital for a boy if he is to learn how to grow into being the kind of person he most admires, essential for a girl who wants to make the best choices in her relationships with men later on.

3 - Show Love and Respect

Your kids will always know that you love them - that's not the issue. Great dads show their love, not only to their children, but to the others in their children's lives. Even if you and their mom are separated, it's vital to demonstrate to your children that you respect her. Children learn about respect and the demonstration of love more from how you show it than from anything they learn at school or from books. How they witness and experience you conducting your relationships will have the greatest impact on their own future relationships. Your demonstration of respect is a mirror of the respect you feel for yourself.

4 - Be an Example

You are a role model for your children whatever you do. The biggest impression of what a man is and how he lives his life is learned from you. Your children learn about values from what you do more than from what you say. They learn about work from seeing your own work habits. They develop their own attitudes largely from what you express. Remember, you want them to admire you when they grow up. You are making memories about you now. The best way to decide how you want your children to remember you is to recall what you had from your own dad, and what you would have wanted that you didn’t get.

5 - Be a Life Coach and Teacher.

Great dads understand that a large part of their job is to show and teach their children about the world. This doesn't mean that you have to know everything (even though your children when young think you do!). It does mean that you can tell them about the things you do know and partner with them in discovering more. Help them to learn how to learn and you will have offered them a lifelong opportunity to develop their talents to the fullest.

A word for moms

Moms and dads have different ways of seeing and acting on things. When each of you accepts that the other has an equally valid and vital role to play, your children will benefit the most.

Warren Redman © 2006

Author's Bio: 

Warren Redman is an award-winning author. He is currently helping Families Matter to develop educational and support programs for dads in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and to show how great Calgary dads are. Contact him at or 1-866-310-3348. To enquire about workshops and other programs for dads, check out