5 Sharp Takes on Fathering

  by Chris Horst

For too long, dads have been an afterthought. Fatherhood has been stuck in the stereotypes: Popular caricatures like Homer Simpson, Don Draper and Carl Winslow have defined the contributions dads have made to society. They’ve brought home the bacon—maybe cooked it, and definitely consumed most of it—but they’re largely aloof, disconnected and ill-prepared for the challenges facing their families.

But that’s starting to change. At dadcraft, we curate some of the sharpest analysis and most practical insights into the life of fathers. Below are some of our favorite articles on fatherhood.

Keep on Roughhousing

…writes Sue Shellenbarger in the Wall Street Journal: “Many fathers walk a fine line during play between safety and risk, allowing children to get minor injuries without endangering them, says a 2011 study of 32 subjects in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics. Researchers say this can instill emotional intelligence under fire, and an ability to take prudent risks and set limits with peers.”

We’ve all crossed that “fine line” more than once. At least we now know that science is on our side.

Keep on Investing Time in your Kids

…writes Susan Adams for Forbes. “Working fathers who spend more time with their children are likely to have a greater sense of satisfaction on the job…Dads who spend more time with their kids are less likely to experience conflicts at home. The study also reveals that the more time men spend with their children, the less central their careers are to their identities. But the authors don’t think that should hurt their careers.”

It helps at work. It helps with our spouses. And it makes a major impact on the lives of our children.

Keep on Assigning Chores

…writes Jennifer Breheny Wallace in the Wall Street Journal: “Decades of studies show the benefits of chores—academically, emotionally and even professionally. Giving children household chores at an early age helps to build a lasting sense of mastery, responsibility and self-reliance, according to research by Marty Rossmann, professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota.”

Help our kids grow into healthy adults and get our car washed in the process? ‘Tis a win-win, dads.

Keep on Sharpening the Craft

…writes Nick Bilton in the New York Times. “While I stood waiting for my mother’s shrimp, I watched all these people toiling away and I thought about what Mr. Jobs had said about the waitress from a few years earlier. Though his rudeness may have been uncalled-for, there was something to be said for the idea that we should do our best at whatever job we take on.”

If dads bring as much elbow grease to fathering as Steve Jobs brought to Apple-izing, imagine how much our kids will benefit.

Keep on Challenging Your Sons to Read Great Books

…writes Thomas Spence in the Wall Street Journal. “One obvious problem with the SweetFarts philosophy of education is that it is more suited to producing a generation of barbarians and morons than to raising the sort of men who make good husbands, fathers and professionals. If you keep meeting a boy where he is, he doesn’t go very far.”

In other words, if Lord of the Rings isn’t on your bookshelf yet, it should be.


It might not be Tolkien, but if you’ve got a younger crew, make sure you check out one of our favorite authors: Oliver Jeffers. And if you’re looking for a creative chore to assign, the car wash (or something similar) isn’t a bad option.

Photo by Deb Horst.