South's Greatest Dads 2017 Winners
Just in time for father’s day, the south’s greatest dads share with us their challenges and why they love parenting so much. Plus tips on how to be a great father!
"Let your love be an example"
Unfortunately, being a great dad comes from opportunities of learning from past mistakes. Children don’t come with instruction manuals, so becoming a great dad comes from being willing to learn from other fathers who have paved the way before you.
What tips would I offer? First, be a leader they can count on and be consistent in everything you do. Live the life you profess. I think there is nothing worse than, “Don’t do as I do, do as I say.” We should live a life where we want our children to do as we do.
Second, love them with everything you have but always be willing to be a father first and a friend second. Sometimes this places you in an unpopular role, but the dividends definitely pay off in the long run.
I have the incredible joy of having raised three amazing children. Two serve our country in the military and the other works with me everyday. Times weren’t always easy but I am grateful to have the had such a great opportunity.
"Being a great dad also means being a great husband"
Raising a child with autism, while at the same time nurturing my relationship with my wife, requires that I make time to communicate with my wife every day. What I need to communicate most is my love. In our situation, I went off to war and came home with injuries that require me to depend on my wife as much as our children. When I and one of our two children have special needs, you can be certain that my wife’s daily responsibilities are always full and very challenging. Recognizing that fact was the first step toward realizing that no matter what kind of day I think I’ve had, my wife has “had a day 2x that,” too!
Some Tips From Hamilton:
1. Spend Time With Your Children. Kids grow up so quickly. Missed opportunities are lost forever.
2. Listen First, Talk Second. Take time and listen to your children’s ideas and problems. Listening helps them feel respected and understood.
3. Discipline with Love. Fathers who discipline in a calm and fair manner show love to their children.
4. Show Affection. Showing affection every day is the best way to let your children know that you love them.
5. Realize A Father’s Job In Never Done. Fathers continue to play an essential part in the lives of their children as they grow and, perhaps, marry and build their own families.
"Be willing to learn, teach and live as an example for your kids. They watch everything you do."
Being a great dad is a daily challenge in self control, selflessness and teaching. Each of my children are different in their own way, and while I strive to push them to excel far past anything I have accomplished, I often must remind myself that they are still so young and sometimes just want to wrestle!
We are all very active in soccer, music lessons and education, and I feel that being involved in their day-to-day lives is one of the most important things I can do to help show them that I will always support them.
Sometimes, a song may be played using the wrong notes, or a soccer ball may have been kicked into their own goal, but when they look over toward the crowd, this dad is cheering them on with a smile and two thumbs up!
We all make mistakes, and if the worst thing they do is hit the wrong key on a piano or slip up and kick the ball into the wrong goal, then I can proudly say that I have successfully raised the best children ever!
There is no greater feeling than seeing that look in my children’s eyes when we have practiced something over and over again and it finally clicks! They have a sense of accomplishment like nothing they have ever experienced, and in THAT exact moment I become the greatest dad ever!
"Remember: Give love, love and more love"
Being a dad to two daughters is the greatest job in the world. I love exposing them to new experiences and having great adventures. It’s amazing and sometimes shocking to watch their behaviors and see myself in them. I honestly don’t know what my life would be like if I weren’t a parent. My kids have been such an incredible addition to my life. In the future, we may consider adopting or fostering children in addition to our own.
Tips from Solomon:
1. Be flexible
2. Give lots of hugs and snuggles. you can never give them too much love
3. Laugh a lot
"Teching your child the path they should take requires sacrifice"
You worry that your children won’t have all they need to succeed and grow up to be mature, honorable adults. You pray for their happiness and safety. Sometimes we need to sacrifice things we want now in order to plan for future needs. Ultimately, you hope they will find the perfect mate, and that they in turn will raise their own children like they were raised.
Tips from Harry:
1.Teach them to thrive and be responsible.
2. Involve them in family functions and have family dinners.
4. Stay active with your kids.
5. Teach them things that you enjoy but also let them try new things.
6. Support them in their endeavors.
"Help build memories that will lead them through the years"
Being a dad has not always been the easiest thing I’ve done, but it is by far the biggest blessing. I have two wonderful children, Brittany (31) and Rick (34). As I hope I taught the kids valuable lessons to help them as they grew into adulthood, they also taught me valuable lessons.
Both Rick and Brittany were involved in sports, which kept us very busy. Even though at times we fussed about running here and there with them, I miss those days.
We always had so much fun on our vacation trips to the beach. We went to Saint Simons several times a year. One of the main things we loved was taking the boat out into the Hampton River to fish. We also loved riding our bikes and relaxing at the beach. So many great memories. Now we are loving being a part of their families. I told them to always remember their roots and where they came from. As I watch them now, this is one lesson they did take with them. I could not be prouder of these two! I truly am the lucky one!
One of the main lessons I taught them was to put God first in everything they do. Next I told them to put Mom second, because if Mom is happy we are all happy! We told them to always tell the truth – your word means everything. You have to earn trust and respect. Try to be a leader, not a follower. We also stressed to them as they were getting closer to either college or a career, to take money out of the equation; to find a career they are passionate about and to be the very best at whatever they do. Not that it always worked, but I would tell them to think about when they have kids, to think about whether you want your kids doing what you are doing.