What Makes A Real Dad?

Is it a night when two become one,
An egg and a sperm make a babe and it’s done?
Is it the day when the couple is bringing,
The babe home with much joy and singing?

Does time make the dad as babe learns to talk,
Saying, ‘Mama’ and ‘Daddy’ and to outstretched arms walk?
When the child calls him, ‘Dad’ does that make him one?
Or maybe it’s when the man says he’s his son.

From all of these things we could surely construe,
That these make a dad that is loving and true.
I believe it’s not time, but a place in the heart,
A calling to give, the whole, not just a part

Of oneself, to the child in their care.
Unselfish love makes a dad that is rare.
He may not have given it life to begin,
But the life that he gives to the child is a win.

The importance of dad, we can not understate.
How the child is developed can’t be left up to fate,
For values are taught, both the good and the bad.
Best ones are taught by the wisdom of dad.


I have seen many kinds of dads in my day, some good and some not so good. My own dad was a verbally abusive alcoholic, whose own low sense of worth caused him to tell us regularly, we were no good. In contrast, my husband, Larry had a very caring father, who told his children, verbally and non verbally, they had value and worth. He was a godly man who loved his children and tried to be the best dad possible. As a result of his loving example, Larrys ideas of how to be a man were well formed.

Recently, I have contemplated this question, “What makes a real dad?” or “What makes a man a dad?” In pondering this question, I am comparing two men who have some connection to a member of my family. One man does not really want to be a dad but he has impregnated at least three women, in the past, leaving them to raise the child by themselves. He gives nothing to their care, no financial support or contact, after the child is born.

One of these children is my daughter’s litle boy. When this man ( using the term lightly,) knew she was pregnant, he wanted her to terminate the pregnancy. When she refused, he left, never saw her again nor the child when he was born. He has never given any kind of support, financially or otherwise. He has a another boy a few years older that he abandoned as well.

As it happened, shortly after this, my daughter met a man who loves her and wants to be a dad to her little boy. This man once knew what it was to anticipate the birth of his baby, only to have his hopes dashed when the baby died at birth. Along the way he tried to be a dad to another boy but was not allowed the privilege when the relationship with his mother failed.

He gives to my grandson, all that a child could ask for, with love and appropriate discipline. My grandson calls him, “daddy” and does not know any other. I’m watching and what I see is the heart of a dad. He’s not perfect and no parent is, but he has a desire to mold and shape his son, into what he believes a man should be.

Who is the real dad here? What makes a dad, really a dad? T’m convinced, it’s not the DNA or the genetics, it’s the heart’s desire.  It’s the motivation and the love that gives of themselves for the well being and the good of the chid in their care. That makes a real dad, truly Dad!




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