Personal Stories

Fathers know best

Experienced dads share fatherhood advice on Father’s Day and all year round

Our gift to new dads on Father’s Day is a few words of wisdom from the experts — experienced dads who live at Amica. Since these seniors helped raise 21 children, we asked them one simple question:

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What’s your best advice for new dads?

“Don’t leave all the child raising to your wife. Cooperate with one another to give some stability. After that, listen to your children and don’t be a dictator. Be receptive to your children’s wishes and not just your own.”

– Wally, 90

“Always be the central male hero in your children’s lives. Children follow the role model they see, not what you say. I followed the 300-year rule: I asked myself, ‘Will this issue matter 300 years from now?’ If my children had done something that wasn’t physically or emotionally harmful, it wouldn’t matter in 300 years. So clothing styles, makeup, hair styles, tattoos, piercings — those things don’t matter.”

– James, 63

“I used to sit on the veranda with my son. I’d say, “It doesn’t matter what profession you would like to choose, but you must go out and get an education and work hard.”

– Efto, 87

“Accept help. My wife got sick when we had four children under six. I was working in construction, which required me to be away a lot; I got a lot of criticism for that but if I’d stayed at home, I would have been on welfare because there was no work. I raised four children with the help of my parents and my wife’s mother until my company gave me an office job so I could see the kids off in the morning and be home at night to meet them.”

– Willis, 93


“Follow your instincts. I was an only child and my wife was the eldest of 10. I knew nothing about children, she knew a lot but we worked together to raise our four children. She handled the discipline and I was the counselor. I would sit and talk to our kids or let them talk to me. We’re still a very close family.”

– Don, 86

“Start an education fund. When the kids are old enough for university, they’ll have the money to get a good education.”

– Chris, 87

“Recognize that your children are distinct from you. I took a course in active listening that helped me have great communication with my kids. I asked what they thought about things. I gave them respect and let them make up their own minds. My children learned to think for themselves and stand up for themselves.”

– Barry, 70

“Help around the house. It must have rubbed off because my wife had time to be successful outside the house and both my daughters found guys that help around the house!”

– Jack, 88

“Live within your means and teach your kids the value of a dollar. In my day, you saved up if you wanted something. When you got the money, you bought it. It seems today that people want to have everything immediately. By the time it’s paid for, it’s worn out. Make your kids work for what they’re getting. You never appreciate anything you get for nothing.”

– Alfie, 86

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