What It Means to Be a Good Dad in 2024

—The Struggle of Raising, Teaching, and Guiding Your Kids as a Father in America Today

By Carew Papritz *

From Hollywood to Washington D.C—and everywhere in between—we have seen many high-profile scandals and misconduct involving family men.  It’s a heartbreaking reality, especially when children are in the mix.

We are still surrounded by good men and fathers but sometimes it’s hard to recognize who they.  Sometimes we need a little reminder of what it means to be a good father in this day and age.

While writing my book, The Legacy Letters, I grappled with that essential question of what it means to a good father. Many letters took years to write but the one that eluded me most was what it meant to be a good father.

The breakthrough came several months after my son was born.  As I held him in my arms, “asking” him what was the secret to being a good father, his “answer” was my breakthrough—you had to be a good man first.   How simple.  How perfect.  And here is what I wrote to my son that day that has since guided me as both a father and a man, and that I want to share with all fathers and fathers-to-be on this Father’s Day . . .

“When do you become a man?  You become a man when you first decide to put away the things of childhood, the talk of childhood, and the thoughts of childhood.  You decide because you cannot be treated as both a man and a boy.  Because you are either one or the other, but you are not both.  And it doesn’t matter your age—you can be a child at fifteen or forty.  Only when you as a boy decide you’re done waiting for the man you want to be and start being the man you want to become, do you begin to become a man.

When do you become a man?

When you become your own man.

When other men trust you to do a man’s work.  Trust you with their name, their reputation, their thoughts.  Trust you to watch their backs and trust you with their lives.

To become a man is to carry out your word because you gave your word.  And your word is you as a man.

You become a man the moment you understand that responsibility is a real and vital commitment to yourself and others, and not some lazy-dog, all-agreeing grunt.

Becoming a man means doing the right thing even though it may be hard or difficult.  Boys do what is easiest.  A man does what is right, whether easy or not.

You become a man the moment you understand that responsibility is a real and vital commitment to yourself and others

When do you become a man?

You become a man when you marry not just for love but to be a partner with your wife.  To be the best man you can be with her, and when you fall short, to admit your shortcomings and to constantly strive to be a great man to your wife.

You become a man when, in having children, you not only physically look after and protect them but also protect them with all the love and learning you have to give.

You become a man when you give your family the best of who you are.  And ultimately by being the best man to yourself and to your wife, you are being the best man to your children.  And that, my Son, is a great gift and responsibility.

And what type of man should you be, my Son?

A good man.  Above all else, strive to be a good man.

        A good man, in your papa’s book, is a great man.  One who constantly strives to be the best of men, to himself and to others.  Because the world can never have enough good men.

And what makes a good man, my Son.

A good man is being fair.  In both your words and your actions.

When you admit being wrong.  And then right that wrong.

A good man knows when he’s been humbled, and learns from his humility.

Being a good man means to speak with sincerity, and love with certainty.

A good man will try to act wisely by thinking first and then acting.

A good man tells the truth.

A good man lives for the joy in life and the happiness of being alive, not shackled to the wants of the future or the regrets of the past.

A good man defends those that cannot defend themselves.

And a good man knows the difficulty of being a man, knowing the fall from grace is always near at hand, and thus is always striving to make himself a better man.”

*Award-winning author of the inspirational bestseller, The Legacy Letters 

Carew Papritz is an educational thought-leader, literacy advocate, and award-winning author of the inspirational book,The Legacy Letters. Through his innovative efforts such as the I Love to Read YouTube series and National Thank You Letter Day, Papritz has made a universal impact by being an advocate for literacy and teaching people of all ages about personal and global legacy issues.

Papritz’s writing has been published in a number of media outlets including The Kelly Clarkson Show, Huffpost, Inc., Reader’s Digest, Fox News, Woman’s World Magazine, Yahoo! News, and First Time Parent Magazine.

For more information, visit Thelegacyletters.com or follow Carew on social media. He’s @CarewPapritzOfficialPage (on Facebook); @CarewPapritz (on InstagramTwitter, and Pinterest); and @Thelegacyletters (on YouTube) The Legacy Letters is available everywhere books are sold.

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