Why we love our dads

Picture of Melanie Dooner

Melanie Dooner

Melanie is a writer and mother of two boys

Reflecting on what makes a great dad, especially when you’re a mum, is no easy task. In fact, in reflecting on my husband, Mick, as a dad I’ve found myself pivot between seeing him as a great example for a reflection on being a dad, to ‘Really?

How on earth can I be expected to write nice things about you after you let our child put stickers all over our kitchen cupboards?’ But the truth is that Mick is a great dad to our two kids Benjamin and Nicholas, not because he is the model of whatever a “perfect dad” is seen to be, but because our kids think he is.

In fact, I believe our kids worship the ground he walks on.


During the Covid lockdowns and having the chance to observe Mick in his best dad moments, I realise how simple his parenting strategy is:  Love them, love them again, and love them more. Mick loves our boys “all the way to the moon and back to the power of infinity” as this mathematics-classic children’s book-loving man attests to every night as he kisses them goodnight.


He is a “go-with-the-flow” kind of dad. He takes each day in his stride and adapts his expectations of our boys to whatever is going on for them personally. He has a strong sense of when it’s time to push them to talk, and when they just need space to think and process whatever is going on in their world.


Mick’s sometimes maddening laid-back approach is revealed as just a cover when I discover that he has a plan mapped out that will ensure our boys can pursue their passions if they desire. Rugby League for one, and an emerging creative love of all things Minecraft for the other, not to mention the ‘How to teach children Chess’ strategies he is methodically teaching them under the guise of play.


Mick is a “keep-your-cool-until-they-will-no-longer-listen” kind of dad. His patience is (almost) endless, which he explains as being because he’s not around them as much as me, but knowing our boys as I do, this is no less than a superhuman feat.


He is also an involved dad – whether that be managing our eldest son’s football side, dressing up and doing karate alongside our youngest to encourage him to stick at it during lockdown, or trying out the latest iPad game so he knows the online world they are dabbling in.


I could go on, but as the saying goes, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” and so it makes sense that one of our boys should have the final word …


Nicholas, aged six, loves the fact that his dad plays with him. “I love dad because he plays Minecraft with me, he plays with me, and he gardens with me. He reads to me even when it’s after my bedtime and gives me kisses and cuddles when I’m going to sleep. I want my dad to know that he is the best dad in the world, he’s the best dad in the galaxy, and he’s the best dad in the universe.”



When nine-year-old Benjamin was asked why he loves his dad, he said, “My dad is the best dad because he always gives his time to help me with what I need. I love that my dad loves Mathematics, sport, Minecraft, us kids, mum, and all his relatives.


“I love that he wants to play with me and spend time with me. I think he is a great dad because he uses his time for us not for what he needs. More than anything I want my dad to know that it’s not his outside that I love, but that I love what is on the inside. His inside is lovely because he has a big heart.”


We celebrate our dads on Sunday September 3.


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