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Being a great dad is not a one-day act that comes out once a year on Father’s Day. It is a lifelong pursuit, something to strive to become better at, with every passing day – just like great wine or slow brewed tea.

In fact, becoming a a father is the greatest honor a man ever gets. Fatherhood is one thing that changes a man’s life forever, in a subtle yet most profound manner.

As days turn into months, years and decades, children just become faster and better versions of their father. When we take all the fluff from our childhood away, the memories of dad (or other dad-like figure in our lives) that linger behind are those in which he was our first hero and role-model.

As a father of two, watching my toddlers grow up feels like a mirror reflection of myself staring back at me from the bottom of a tranquil blue lake.

Being a great dad every day requires courage, deliberate intent and positive action.

This is the type of courage that helps keep life’s priorities in perspective. It means being able to walk away from distractions, time-wasters and meanness at work in order to be home for a family dinner. Spending a weekend with the kids playing baseball at the park is more important than the short-lived joy of that next promotion at work, isn’t it?

Deliberate intent means defining what matters most to you – as a father. What would  you rather be doing? Singing songs with your kids? Playing soccer with them? Reading books? Camping out together? The specific activities are irrelevant. You got to know what shared experiences you want to create and bearing in the right direction.

Positive action keeps the first things, the first things. Having come this far, you can’t just sit it out and do nothing. You got to act – starting out with baby steps if need be – to to translate the deliberate intent into physical reality for the present moment. That’s the only way beautiful memories that last a lifetime are created.

The secret to being a great dad every day is simple – love your kids every moment of every single day. This love should translate into three actionable next steps for every aspiring great dad starting now:

  1. Be patient.
  2. Be kind.
  3. Be available.

What do you think? I’d love to hear from every great dad out there.

Image credit: Kerry Randolph http://www.flickr.com/photos/kerry1691/510485594/