Tag Archives: parenting

A Weekly Dose of Life Lessons for Dads of Daughters

excerpted from

by Michael Mitchell

109. Teach her to appreciate a good book. “Children are made readers on the laps of
their parents.“ -Emilie Buchwald
(photo: to kill a mocking bird)

111. Teach her to shoot a gun… even if it’s just a Nerf gun. A girl with the confidence to
fire a weapon can accomplish anything in life.
(photo: life magazine) Continue reading A Weekly Dose of Life Lessons for Dads of Daughters

What makes a REAL dad?

by Michael Mitchell

I’ve written a lot on one of my other blogs on the many qualities I think of when I think about what makes a man a REAL man. Qualities like generosity, courage, simplicity, contentment, strength, and many others. And in many ways, those same general qualities also apply to being a dad.

Even so, as I’ve become more comfortable in my role as a new father, I’ve begun to ponder what it really takes to be a good father. Thankfully, I had a pretty good example in my own old man and so that’s been helpful, but (much like everything in life) I want to come up with my own set of standards for the kind of dad I want to be. With that in mind, I’ve started a list (for some reason, I’m really into lists these days) of what I think it means to be a REAL dad. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

1. A real dad gets on the floor and plays with his children.
2. A real dad looks for ways to add joy to his children’s lives.
3. A real dad is intentional about setting loving, but firm boundaries for his children.
4. A real dad doesn’t blow up at his kids.
5. A real dad is there.
6. A real dad is willing to drop whatever he’s doing from time to time just to be in the presence of his child.
7. A real dad protects, stands up, and fights for his kids.
8. A real dad gives his children increasingly more freedom to explore and test themselves the older they get.
9. A real dad imparts wisdom to his children.
10. A real dad is interested in the lives of his children.
11. A real dad seeks to know his children by asking lots of open ended questions without making them feel like they are being interrogated. Continue reading What makes a REAL dad?

You might be new to the game of fatherhood if…

by Michael Mitchell

I’ve noticed A LOT of groups on Facebook popping up lately around the idea of sharing common experiences about the town you grew up in with other people who also grew up there. My favorite is the “You know you’re from Gotebo if…” I don’t know if I’m more impressed that a town of 247 people has a Facebook group with 48 members in it or that a town that is only .77 square miles actually has a population of 247 people.

Anyhow… I digress. Seeing all of these groups and the things people are saying got me thinking about another shared experience that is fresh and new and really close to home for me right now: fatherhood.

You see, there comes a time in every dad’s life when he realizes he’s the not the guy he used to be. He has left behind the trappings of his youthful days and traded them in for an entirely new set of responsibilities… and with them, joy. A trunk that used to hold a set of golf clubs or his favorite rod and reel is now home to a massive collapsible stroller and other random baby accessories that consume every last square inch of his available cargo capacity.

Continue reading You might be new to the game of fatherhood if…

How Five Simple Rules Morphed Into a New Blog

FULL DISCLOSURE: What follows is, in many ways, a bit of shameless self-promotion for a new project I’m working on. You’ve been warned.

A few weeks ago, I posted a list of five rules for dads raising daughters. When I wrote that post, I was simply trying to clarify some of my own thoughts on parenting, fatherhood, and raising little girls – thoughts that had been largely influenced by a number of books (Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Meg Meeker, Bringing Up Girls by James Dobson, The Heart of a Father: How You Can Become a Dad of Destiny by Ken Canfield, and many others) I’d read in the months leading up to and following the birth of my daughter last September.

I had a lot of fun coming up with those five rules (I guess they were more like suggestions than hard fast rules) and when I eventually hit the post button on the blog, I felt like I had a pretty good foundation for my own philosophy of fatherhood.

As someone who uses the written word to cull out meaning from his experiences, seeing my ideas finally crystallized in written form felt really good.

At least at first, I felt what I think was a sense of closure. “Okay,” I thought, “I’ve finally got all of this stuff out of my head and now I can get back to putting my creative energy into blogging about the masculine experience.”  That was all good and well, except for one thing… that’s not really how my mind works.

No sooner had the post been published than I started thinking of other ideas I should have included in my original list of suggestions. In an effort to simply try to clear my mind, the next morning I opened a blank text file on my laptop and started to type. That’s when the ideas started flowing. My fingers couldn’t move fast enough to keep up. Continue reading How Five Simple Rules Morphed Into a New Blog

From a man in transition to a transitioned man

While on vacation last week, the realization finally hit me that over the course of the last year or so I have taken up residence in an entirely new stage of adulthood.

I’m not sure exactly when this realization first dawned on me. Perhaps it was when we were packing the night before we left. As I looked around my living room at all the stuff we were taking with us this year that we didn’t even own this time last year it made my head spin a bit.

  • Diaper bag.
  • Pack ‘N’ Play.
  • Package of diapers.
  • Several jars of baby food.
  • Tons of toys.
  • Three tiny swimsuits.
  • Car seat.
  • Stroller (which ended up being too big to fit in our rented minivan with all of our other stuff).
  • An entire suitcase filled with miniature clothing that did not belong to either my wife or myself.

Perhaps it hit me the next morning while sweating like a nun in a brothel as I tried to get all of that stuff, plus mine and my wife’s belongings, into the back of the minivan. Continue reading From a man in transition to a transitioned man