My middle son, Cal (who turns fourteen in four weeks) asked me to proof read the Encomium he had been writing throughout the day this past weekend. I didn’t even know what the word meant, but I soon found out. Apparently an Encomium is a text expressing high praise. That was his assignment for his writing class. I read it over and was surprised by what he wrote. Even though he gave me permission to post it, I still feel funny about doing so. I’m not sharing this to ask you to think well of me. My hope in sharing this is to encourage you about how easy it really is to be a hero to your kids. Reading what Cal wrote completely warmed my heart and reminded me how relatively easy it is to love our kids in a way that makes a big difference.
Here’s his Encomium.
“Any man can become a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.” Let me tell you why I think my dad is so exceptional. My dad, Keith Zafren, is a proficient author and an inspiring speaker and a great father. He sometimes travels all the way across the country to speak. He is also a successful businessman; he founded the Great Dads Project, a fruitful organization that has helped many fathers become great dads for their kids. He founded the company in September of 2010 for the purpose of helping dads everywhere become better father figures in their children’s lives.
He is a loving and caring father, as evidenced by the many times he has helped me in life. Once, when I played goalie for my soccer team, the opposing team destroyed our team. After the game was over, feeling extremely frustrated and angry towards my team, I walked off the field toward my dad. He comforted me, saying that although my team was terrible, I had done a great job during the game.
My dad is a great dad. He cooks breakfast for us every morning; he helps us with our schoolwork and takes us to play tennis or soccer almost every week. Our dad takes us to soccer tournaments as far away as Pennsylvania or St Louis. He plays Ping-Pong with me in our garage. He sometimes takes us bowling or to get ice cream. Once he even took us to Kings Island, an exciting amusement park, for my brother’s birthday. We are very close, my dad and I; we have gone to soccer games, to the NFL hall of fame, even to the Great Wolf Lodge together. He travels with me wherever we need to go. He is the best dad in the world.
Cal told me I should put this in my next book. So I asked him if I could share it with you here for now. What a loving kid. The thing I love most about this is that it doesn’t point to any big experiences or grand events or magical fathering moments. He just details the most normal, simple kinds of things that make him know and feel how much I love him. What a relief for dads to hear that. These are the kinds of things that any of us dads can easily do for our children, even if we don’t live with them full time, which I no longer do. When you’re with your kids, love them like this and you will be bonding in ways that last a lifetime.
Look at the difference it makes. You can do this. Go for it!
Great Dads Shape Great Kids. Be a Great Dad Today!
To read more from Keith, take a look at his book: