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Why dads are different
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My husband holds our son. - photo by Erin Stewart
Every year around this time, its easy to find lots of news articles touting the importance of good fathers.

Research has shown for a long time that a father can have a huge impact on the emotional, and even intellectual, development of their children just by being involved, playing with them and by being a part of their everyday life.

This Fathers Day, Id like to shout out to the father of my three children. I may not have any scientific evidence to back up my assertions that he is making our children into awesome tiny humans, but I can see it every day.

First, he plays. He always finds time to kick around a soccer ball with my oldest daughter, swing in the hammock with our second daughter and do flying airplane tricks with our son. Its no wonder they all run to him the second they hear the door handle turn at the end of the day.

Second, he doesnt baby sit, he parents. He isnt a part-time dad who fills in when I cant be there. He is always there, and considers raising our children just as much his job as mine.

Third, he knows his stuff. Im a little spoiled on this one because my husband has been in education since I met him and is now an elementary school principal. He knows the research about how kids learn and how to help children behave. When I am at a loss for how to handle a situation or how to talk to one of our children, he always helps me think through it. When one of our children was struggling with behavior issues, my husband even helped me do practice scenarios to prep me for when I needed to whip out some kick-butt parenting skills.

Most importantly, he manages to strike a balance between being a friend and a father. In all honestly, I dont know how he does it. Our children adore him, respect him, obey him and enjoy him all at the same time.

And when I watch him with our children, I can see firsthand what all the research shows: Dads are different. They have a unique and important relationship with their children that gives them confidence in a way that I cant.

In some ways, its a bit maddening because it seems to come so naturally. When daddys home, the children listen quicker. They laugh easier. The baby even sleeps longer. Even though I wish I had one-hundredth of his super dad skills, Im happy just to watch the magic.

So this Fathers Day, Im grateful for a dad who makes our little slice of this earth a better place to be.
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