- (Photo: Thomas Nelson)
The founder of Family First Mark Merrill is the author of a new book released today detailing the seven essential characteristics needed to be a good father, one of which he says is very difficult.
Merrill, who noted that he has been thinking of writing a book on fatherhood for over a decade, said out of all the characteristics featured in All Pro Dad: Seven Essentials to Being a Hero to Your Kids, the most challenging one for men is probably being a good role model.
The "seven M's" are: makeup, master, mission, message, motive, method, and model. Each of these essentials has a chapter devoted to not only explaining what they are, but also offering advice on them and examples of notable fathers who excel in these areas.
Merrill, who also has experience as a pilot, compared being a role model to the "pre-flight inspection," which involves "inspecting the integrity of the plane."
"I think a model dad must insure that he is living a life of integrity, as a compromise even in the slightest can be devastating for his child," said Merrill to The Christian Post.
"These things can cause a dangerous breach in a father's fuselage, so to speak, and can keep them from growing as a leader especially in their home."
Merrill spoke of how "dark secrets" are something a man might have, like "addictions people might not see," which can be a hazard to being a model.
"Integrity," Merrill explained, "is what you do when no one else is looking…Being a man of integrity is a very facet to being a model to kids."
The Two "Culprits"
Much has been said about the decline of fatherhood in modern American society. Merrill writes in All Pro Dad about some of the problems facing fathers. When asked by CP what he considered to be some of the worst threats to fatherhood in America, Merrill listed two "culprits": busyness and technology.
"We really don't have any margins in our lives and any downtime where we can just be available for our kids. Just hanging out with them," said Merrill.
"Establishing what I call 'memorable monuments' in their lives by doing things with and for our kids that create lasting loving memories."
Merrill felt that too many American parents focus more on providing "quality time" when they should be providing "quantity time" to their children.
"Really what we need is to spend 'quantity time' with our children and so I think we just need to learn to say no to the things that aren't essential in our lives and say yes to more things that are essential," said Merrill.
As for technology, Merrill explained that while modern social networking and communications can be and have been valuable, they also take away from good in-person communication and relationships.
"We are more technologically connected like never before, but we're also more relationally disconnected like never before," said Merrill.
"I think technology in its proper place is good, but also if we do not harness that technology appropriately, it could be devastating for relationships."
All Pro Dad: Seven Essentials to Being a Hero to Your Kids is published by Thomas Nelson.
Correction: Wednesday, May 2, 2012:
An article on Tuesday , May 1, 2012, about a new book by Mark Merrill incorrectly stated that he was a former NFL linebacker. The Mark Merill who wrote the book All Pro Dad did not play in the NFL, although there is someone else by the same name who did.