Fathers tend to fit in one of two categories: the incompetent goofball or the detached work-a-holic.

The incompetent goofball is one of those tropes that really needs to go away. Playful dads are not inept parents, joking their way through adulthood. Instead, they’re positively shaping their children’s lives in a meaningful way.

Here are eight reasons why you were really lucky to have a playful dad:

1. He Was Your Friend

When you’re a kid, you need friends. But having friends is never harder than when you’re young and as you grow up, it gets harder.

Yet, if you had a playful dad, making friends was less confusing. Your dad taught you what it means to be a friend, in good times and bad. He taught you that good friends are the ones that are there in good times and in bad, even when one of you makes a mistake.

He was always there when you felt alone. More importantly, he still is.

2. He Was Friends with Your Friends

Most of your friend’s fathers went to work, came home, watched TV and went to bed. They had a hard day at work and they wanted peace when they finally made it to the sofa. You had to be quiet when visiting other friend’s houses because you didn’t want to disturb their dads.

Your dad made a point to be friends with your friends. He learned their names, knew what kind of juice they liked and always made it a point to play a prank. Everybody liked coming to your house because your dad was not just another grown up. He was everybody’s friend.

3. He Supported Your Half Baked Schemes

Kids have the weirdest ideas. If you think back, you can probably recall one or two elaborate schemes involving some string, a tin can and possibly the neighbor’s cat.

Rather than squashing your dreams, your dad got it and was willing to give you loans for whatever endeavors you dream of pursuing.  He saw your strange ideas as a form of expression and ingenuity. He was always on hand to help you build a new contraption or set up a prank.

His validation gave you the self-confidence and freedom to be yourself.

4. He Taught You Short Cuts

Playful dads have the best short cuts. They know how to travel through time and cut the length of any operation in half. In your mind, your dad’s pancake canon was a work of sheer genius, even if it was a little messy sometimes.

Your dad taught you that it’s okay to take a shortcut sometimes. But more importantly, he taught you that sometimes it’s less messy to put in the work yourself.

5. He Made the Weirdest and Best Snacks

Other dads would either follow your mom’s nutritional rules or half-heartedly throw whatever they could find on a plate. Your dad, however, made snack time an adventure. He tried out weird combinations. He threw the laws of nutrition (and sometimes gravity) out the window and always managed to encourage you to try new things.

You might not realize it but those pickle and Oreo sandwiches are part of the reason you’re so adventurous in adulthood. Your dad created a safe space for you to experiment with new foods so that you would never be afraid of something that was so good for you.

6. He Kept Your Secrets

Kids have secrets and most adults don’t take them seriously. As you grow up, these secrets don’t seem like a big deal. But at the time, hearing an adult talk about your dreams and concerns was embarrassing and heartbreaking.

Your playful dad understood the importance of your privacy. He taught you that your private thoughts were valuable. He gave you an example of someone who was wholly and completely trustworthy.

7. He Taught You About Parenting

Now that you’re older, you realize you wouldn’t be the person you are without your dad. He had such a huge impact on your childhood and your adult life that you realize that parenting is about more than feeding, clothing and loving your child.

You learned that parents can encourage their children to be amazing people. He taught you that you can be a role model, a friend and a parent all in one.

8. He Encouraged You to Trust Yourself

You had a childhood role model who did not spend their time telling you “no.” Instead, he encouraged you to explore and learn and ultimately, to he taught you how to trust yourself. You learned how to say “I can” when other people are telling you can’t.

Even when everyone is saying you can’t and you’re starting to believe them, you know that your dad is on the sidelines telling you that you can.

Your playful dad was not just having fun. He wasn’t just a prankster gliding through life. He was teaching you valuable lessons about friendship, life and how to be the best version of yourself.

Featured photo credit: David via flickr.com

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