How do you value your dad?

We approached The Dad Network to find out more about what a stay at home dad thinks of being a parent in the modern day world. Al Ferguson from The Dad Network gives us his thoughts below:  

Aged 28, I look back at my time as a child and growing up I remember my dad teaching me some incredibly valuable life lessons. The kind of life lessons that you wouldn’t get anywhere else; the TV, friends, books etc. I actually look back fondly on these moments and will treasure the memories of being taught by my own father.

Fortunately for you, I’m going to share a handful of those life lessons with you now, so you can pass them on to your children too:

  • Measure twice, cut once - This has saved me money, effort and above all time
  • Listen to your elders
  • Check your oil regularly & tyre pressure
  • Be good or be careful
  • Manners go a long way and they don’t cost a penny
  • Never trust anyone who says 'Trust me’.

My dad teaching me all these life lessons, has certainly proven invaluable in the first 28 years of my life. It’s led me to a point where I have a beautiful wife, for example, so they must have been valuable! My dad has added a great deal of value to my life.

The question is, how do we actually measure the value of a dad, in the context of raising children? The things that bring a lot of value are obviously: income, jobs around the house, providing the essentials and managing finances. But also the more subtle things such as offering cuddles, showing love, educating and teaching life skills

These more subtle ‘values’ aren’t really easily measured. So putting a price on them is near impossible. If you think about life insurance, for example, it will go a long way to helping your children continue to live a healthy and decent lifestyle, and therefore highly valuable but it won’t cover the entire value of what a parent offers day to day.

I’m now a few months into my new job as a stay at home dad and I’ve learnt a huge amount in a very short space of time. (It has been a steep learning curve at times!) None less than the fact that to make family life as efficient and enjoyable as possible, you need to all chip in. Both my wife and I do jobs around the house, we both manage our finances, we both support the kids emotionally; showing them love and affection and we both take active roles in teaching them about the world around them.

That old, traditional myth that a dads role within family life is to simply babysit them when mum is busy or to give mum a rest, is an outdated perspective. A couple of generations ago, the value of dads was simply to bring in the money and attend a family holiday once a year. Times have moved on and still moving, and dads now bring a whole lot more to the family table.

Let’s not also forget the times when my wife has been away for a few days; believe it or not, the house hasn’t fallen down and the kids have survived. Just because I was on my own, didn’t mean that I was incapable,  struggling or failing. Other than the physical limitations (giving birth and breastfeeding) mums and dads can both offer the same to a child. Good news for those single dads out there!

What dads offer, as fathers, is now at a point where you can’t actually put a value on our heads. The value of changing their nappy so they’re clean and comfortable. The value of comforting our children when they’re scared or sick. The value of clapping them after their first school play or sports day. These things aren’t measurable at all, yet still bring immense value to our children’s lives.

In my mind, the true mastery of being a dad is being part of a well oiled family machine. Which brings me back to one of the valuable lessons my dad taught me; always check your oil.

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