Hero: Being the Strong Father Your Children Need

Note from Mark Timm, CEO Ziglar Family: 

 This week it is my privilege and honor to introduce you to Dr. Meg Meeker as our Ziglar Family guest blogger. Dr. Meeker writes with the know-how of a pediatrician and the big heart of a mother because she has spent the last 30 years practicing pediatric and adolescent medicine. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books, including her latest:  Hero: Being the Strong Father Your Children Need. You can follow Dr. Meeker at megmeekermd.com and catch her podcast, Parenting Great Kids, on iTunes or Stitcher


If I asked you to name a current family TV show or movie where the dad is portrayed as anything other than the awkward, clueless, target of all the eye rolls and jokes, could you do it?

I bet you’d have to think for more than a second or two to come up with one! In most cases, fathers are portrayed and treated as second-class citizens who need to be taught a lesson by 11-year-olds.

The sad reality is that we have done a terrible disservice to fathers in our culture with the bad habit of dad shaming. Dads are portrayed in the media as bumbling idiots, the target of everybody’s joke. You just don’t see many — if any — great fathers portrayed.

As a result, even though fathers may feel like they’re trying to do a great job — and they probably are doing a really great job — they feel very insecure about what they’re doing.

What I try to do is teach parents — both mothers and fathers, but especially fathers, because they need it more than mothers — to see who they are through their child’s eyes.

If you, Dad, could understand how enormous you are in your kids’ eyes from the time your children are born until they’re 15, or even until they’re 25, you’d see that your children make you their hero from the get-go.

Most dads find that concept hard to grasp, saying, “Well I’m not super smart, and I haven’t landed a plane with only one wing. I’ve never saved anybody who was drowning.”

It doesn’t matter. You are a hero to every one of your children until proven otherwise. You’re on a platform. All you need to do is keep from falling off!

Fathers are critical to the emotional, spiritual, physical and intellectual growth of their children. And there is plenty of current research to back that up.

For instance, if children have a father who reads to them from the time they’re six months old until they’re three, and you test those kids’ IQs when they’re three, the ones whose fathers read to them test with a higher IQ than ones whose fathers didn’t.

Women are trained to believe that when it comes to parenting, we’ve got this handled. We do it all as we perpetually complain that you dads don’t do enough, you’re not home enough, you never show up on time, you’re never engaged with the kids, you don’t talk to the kids enough, you never take them here or there.

Mothers need to realize our children need their dads: their biological dads, adopted dads, foster dads, stepdads — any of the good men in their lives, and we need to help that process, not hinder it.

Fathers need to understand they are absolutely critical to their children. They can’t just orbit their families. They’re going to have to fight for space in the home because a lot of well-meaning but strong-headed women like me don’t want to surrender territory very easily.

Moms, great parenting is about recognizing what we’re really good at and accepting where we need to make room in our kids’ lives for other great things. The most important great thing we can make room for in our kids’ lives is their fathers.

We need to encourage fathers and embrace how they parent differently from women.

It’s a fact that dads play with their kids more, and we now know that play with children is better for their social and their mental growth. Mothers don’t play with their kids as much; we’ve got too much work to do!

There is no greater reward for any man than the title “father” and no more fulfilling words that can ever be spoken than “Daddy, I love you.”

Those are the wages of a hero.

Happy Father’s Day to all of you hero dads!




  1. N Small June 10, 2017 at 10:34 pm - Reply

    Excellent… and timely😊

  2. Stephen Stilley June 10, 2017 at 10:52 pm - Reply

    I have just recently began to hear “Daddy I love you” from a 22 year old daughter. there are no more precious words in the whole world than for me to hear that from my daughters; either the 22 or 23 year old. I will always love them even when I don’t agree with them.

  3. Danny Woods June 11, 2017 at 6:49 am - Reply

    I really enjoyed this article. So true!

  4. Omotayo Adeyi June 11, 2017 at 7:12 am - Reply

    Very striking. I am blessed with this piece & proud to be s father.

    Thanks Ziglar family for this guest.

  5. Chris Hood June 11, 2017 at 10:34 am - Reply

    Great article! It is sad that the satanic church of the early 60’s had an objective of destroying the family through TV. We got rid of ours TV after gaining that knowledge… So sad that the Charles Ingells was replaced by the Al Bundy modeling…

    Thank you for voicing the importance and significance of the father as well as the mother! Powerful stuff!

  6. Lance Peppler June 12, 2017 at 3:29 am - Reply

    Good stuff. The podcast was incredible and I am shared with as many fathers as I can.

  7. Baah Benjamin June 12, 2017 at 9:41 am - Reply

    thank you Dr for your encouragement it will help we the up coming father to be great dad’s and better husbands

  8. Julie Rupp June 12, 2017 at 8:10 pm - Reply

    Love this! I have never thought about how negatively the media portrays fathers, and I love the idea of giving our kids a strong male figure in their life. As a mother, it is also a continual GREAT reminder to remember that Dad’s role in their life is just as important as mine. Although our roles are different, God uses each for great impact on our kids. Thank you for these timeless truths.

  9. Naz June 13, 2017 at 5:58 am - Reply

    Spot on Meg….I’ve been saying the same for a while. There is almost a concerted effort to dethrone dad on every level…. Ass husband, father, carer,dad, role model …. leading inevitably to the breakdown and dysfunction of families. May sound all very old fashioned…. but that’s what works.

  10. Lili June 24, 2017 at 10:45 pm - Reply

    The one comment that concerns me is, “It’s a fact that dads play with their kids more, and we now know that play with children is better for their social and their mental growth. Mothers don’t play with their kids as much; we’ve got too much work to do!”

    There seems to still be the pattern that the wife/mother is still responsible for taking care of the household and chores, as well as working to help pay the bills and also raise the children.
    Perhaps it’s time to start pushing the message that moms need help and support in the daily things of life. Maybe then moms COULD play and spend more time with the children.

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