I'd like my epitaph to be.
"He Was a Great Father"
Even before I had kids, I knew that's what I wanted to be remembered for. It would have been difficult but not impossible to achieve, without my own kids. And now I have kids, I've been wondering what is a Great Father. Funny, but a friend pointed out, that only I can see myself as a Great Father, realising I've done my very best, but my kids may not notice or appreciate it!!
I was looking back recently at my parents. What did they do well, and what could have been better.
There are some material things which were great as kids. Great holidays, the excitement and smell of new cars, a newly hired TV, Dad's new gadgets, eating out in Manchester, Big Birthday presents. Letting friends come round to wreck the house. My parents not being too mad at smashed windows from the football!
Some things didn't count for much, or we didn't notice it. A big house, financial security, new clothes, schools (as long as it wasn't boarding school or too rough).
It would have been nice for my parents to be world experts in anything I suddenly took an interest in. That may have been too much to ask!!
A few other things to consider, which I'm learning about now as a parent and things I appreciate my parents for. Being available not just present. Not arguing in front of us. No shouting. Physically playing with us. Joining in games. Giving space and privacy. The fine line between forcing musical practice and letting it go. The same with homework. Big birthday presents carefully thought out. Dropping off and picking up from school. Being there on the sideline and understanding my sport. Talking Football. Letting us watch grown up programmes. Almost no censorship. Protecting us from bullying kids or parents or teachers. Lots of chocolate! Lots of pocket money.
I don't know if you can ever achieve Great Fatherhood. Who knows how my kids will change in personality and what they want, if anything, as they grow older.