Being a dad is important and rarely celebrated. Can we take a minute to celebrate Dad? If you’re reading this and you’re a dad, I want you to know—you matter! A whole lot. Science proves it, and psychology proves it, but most importantly, you prove it each day that you stand firm for your family in this world. Each day that you lead them, love them, provide for them, protect them, and teach them, you are fulfilling the most significant task you’ll ever be charged with — fatherhood.

As Father’s Day approaches (and every single day), it is important to celebrate all the dads out there that are deeply involved in their children’s lives. Although motherhood has dominated past parenting studies, there is emerging research about the importance of a father or father figure being present in a child’s life and the significant impact made by their engaged presence.

Fathers make significant contributions to their child’s overall well-being. Involved fatherhood is linked to better outcomes on nearly every measure of child well-being, from cognitive development and educational achievement to self-esteem and pro-social behavior. Children who grow up with involved fathers are 39% more likely to earn mostly A’s in school, 45% less likely to repeat a grade, 60% less likely to be suspended or expelled from school, twice as likely to go to college and find stable employment after high school, 75% less likely to have a teen birth, and 80% less likely to spend time in jail. 

Fathers play a pivotal role and a tremendous influence on the life of a child. Here are just a few highlights of the impact Dad makes on a child:

  1. Increased emotional intelligence and problem-solving capabilities: Active Dads involved throughout even just the first year of a child’s life perform better on cognitive development assessments and have increased capacity for curiosity and exploring the world.
  2. Boosted Confidence: The emotional support and understanding that they are valued and loved leads to higher self-esteem, happier, greater tolerance of stress and less fear in new situations, and a more exceptional ability to resist peer pressure. This alone is a huge WIN for a child as they grow and face challenges.
  3. Provide a Different Perspective: Men and women think differently; we process differently, and having another perspective to expose a child to is priceless in teaching life skills.
  4. Someone To Look Up To: A positive fatherly role model reinforces good behaviors and choices. Children want to make their fathers proud, which leads to fewer behavioral challenges and promotes increased compassion, generosity, and awareness of others’ needs and rights.
  5. More Love: Having an engaged father leads to a child feeling more loved! The steady source of support, love, and encouragement aids in a child growing up healthy and happy.

Growing up, I admired both of my parents, and each brought a unique perspective and provided different components of love, safety, compassion, motivation, and encouragement. Together they were the sum of a total force that equaled raising children to grow up to be loving and productive adults. My father being military was absent on many occasions due to deployments, training, and missions he was charged within his career. However, when he was home, he was indeed present and engaged. He took the time to show me I mattered and gave of his time to create memories with our family. I felt like the luckiest child on the planet when he would attend my games, watch a show with me, play a game, a dinner out, make breakfast together, or go for a run together among countless other moments. It wasn’t what we were doing; it was that he wanted to do those things with me – I mattered.

The gift of a parent’s time, and in this case, a father’s time has an impact that lasts a lifetime. Today and each day, recognize the role engaged fathers of the world make on a child. Thank them for choosing to be present and involved. It truly is a precious gift. Happy Father’s Day to all you engaged Dads out there, and thank you for your daily contributions in shaping the hearts and minds of young children who will grow to be amazing adults.

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