Rob Stringer

Article Summary:

Here's what elements kids say goes into making the "World's Greatest Dad".

What makes the World's Greatest Dad?

You are in the final round of your favorite game show. The category is "Fatherhood". All that stands between you and the grand prize is the answer to this question: "Describe the World's Greatest Dad. He would ..."

Each spring, I play this game with the students in my class as we brainstorm ideas for poems, cards and gifts for Father's Day. Regardless of the age of my students, out of the hundreds of answers I have amassed, they all remain quite similar. What do they say? What would your kids say? What is that special ingredient that turns a father into a special Dad? The results might surprise you ...

Healthy ...
The World's Greatest Dad in most cases is tall and strong, but more importantly, very healthy:

  • He would not smoke.
  • He would be active and always have lots of energy.
  • He would take us for hikes, walks, bike rides, and play sports with me.
  • He would eat supper faster so he could come outside and play with me.

Wealthy? ...
While variations on, "He would be rich and buy me things," inevitably make the list each year, it is one of the least popular responses. The top answer does involve spending, but it is time rather than money. Here are some popular responses about spending more quality time with Dad:

  • He would take me fishing, hunting, to sporting events, or to the park.
  • He would help with my homework.
  • He would read with me and tuck me into bed at night.
  • He would always laugh at my jokes, and ask to hear them again.
  • He would never miss family movie/games night.
  • He would want to spend time with me."

... and Wise
Kids have the most to say about a Dad's personality and general attitude. Topping the list is having a great sense of humor, followed by these:

  • He would encourage me to try my best, says nice things, or help me if I'm crying.
  • He would be nice, trusting, and happy.
  • He would be brave and save me if a snake chased me.
  • He would be patient and calm when things go wrong, and never yell at me.
  • He would love me and make me feel loved.

The traditional role of fathers has changed markedly over the last fifty years. However, I would venture to say that if we could travel back in time, many of the kids' top answers would remain unchanged. For you see, the gift of ourselves--spending focused time with our children, is one of the best and longest lasting gifts we can give. Each moment we spend actively engaged with our kids is an investment in our future relationships.

Why not re-schedule that meeting, or leave work a little early tonight ... and spend some extra time with your kids.

Rob Stringer is an award-winning educator, speaker and author who coaches parents with his upbeat approach to learning, and parenting. Rob is currently working on his first book, Parenting with Intention, and has launched a free monthly newsletter by the same name. Visit to subscribe, access resources, or learn more about PWI's parent coaching services. Learn how to begin each day as if it were on purpose... and parent with intention.

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