Life’s lessons on being a father

Published 8:28pm Saturday, June 14, 2014

This is not a Father’s Day advice column.

For sure, I’m not qualified to give advice. I just know you can’t father from a book. You can only father through love.

I will offer fathers some of the wisdom that I have learned being DAD to two sons. There is no more important job that you will ever have than being a father. I don’t care how important we may think we are or how high we rise in business, church, politics or society, the way we nurture and raise our children is the single most important job we will ever have. If our children are our legacy and our future, then the responsibility of being father rests squarely on our shoulders.

With that said, I will share some of my life’s lessons (even with grown sons, I continually learn) on how to be a good father.

• Love and respect your children’s mother.

My wife has taught me this important lesson.

There is no better way for children to learn love, devotion and respect for themselves and others than to observe their father love their mother. Want to build a child’s confidence, security, and compassion? Let them see the devotion and love you have for their MOM.

• Maintain a lifestyle that makes home a safe and secure.

As your children grow, the world gets to be constant noise. They need a place of retreat. They need a place that is fun, exciting and secure. They need a place to bring their friends. Home is the training ground for life. Over the years I decided that this type home was my responsibility.

• Read aloud to your children.

(Another lesson from my wife)

Today’s world is filled with technology. As good and as fun as technology may seem, technological “gadgets” are not a substitute for reading aloud. Don’t allow anything to replace your voice consistently reading to your child. Make a commitment to read to your child everyday. It only takes 10-15 minutes daily and will reward you and your child for a lifetime.

• Attend Sunday school and church with your children.

All of us need faith development and spiritual growth throughout life. There is no better place to develop a strong foundation of faith, hope and love than in a local church.

• Teach character and integrity.

Children need fathers to teach them that character and integrity are better than wealth and possessions. Teach them that if they give away their integrity they have nothing left. Teach right and wrong early. Guard your heart and actions everyday. Remember those little eyes (and even those grown eyes) are watching our every move.

•Teach your children to be leaders not followers. 

June bug Donahue, the press foreman at my hometown newspaper, told me many times I could be a leader or a follower, but not both.

Teach that wisdom to your children.

• Be involved in your child’s education.

If you aren’t interested in school and learning, why should you expect your child to show interest? Support your child’s teachers. Show up at school for lunch or to read to a child other than your own. The teacher will be thankful, and your child will be proud of DAD.

Help with homework. Encourage your child to not only prepare for tomorrow’s lesson but to stretch and expand that knowledge on their own. Become involved in every aspect of your child’s education. It is that important!


This is hard for adults. Know when to listen and not interrupt. We can learn much from our children when we know when to listen.

There are many more life’s lessons I could offer here, but space tells me to stop. I have a very short 32 years’ experience being a Dad to Tillman and Will. The most important lesson I can share is that none of the above would have been possible without my wife, my children’s MOM.

Please allow me a quick word of thanks to every employee of THE DAILY LEADER for their dedication to you and this newspaper on Friday. As you know, an early Friday morning storm hit Brookhaven pretty hard and many homes and businesses lost power. Daily Leader employees know the timeliness of getting the newspaper to your home. They arrived early and eager to develop the lead story and deliver it to you.

After power was restored around 9:45 a.m., staff members quickly went to work. The press was started by 12:30 p.m. Your independent newspaper carrier then took over, and most homes had delivery by 5 p.m. All in all, Friday was a good day because of the folks you depend on to bring you the latest news.

I have an important correction to last Sunday’s column. I mentioned several new advertising and newsroom employees. I failed to mention one very important employee that, although a summer intern from Co-Lin Community College, is really making a positive impact for our readers. Lyndy Berryhill is an extremely talented student journalist. She brings our readers a fresh energetic perspective on the content we produce for you. Please help me welcome Lyndy.

If you see one of our employees this week please thank them for their efforts Friday. I am very proud of them all.

 Otis Raybon is the publisher of The Daily Leader. Contact him at or (601) 833-6961.