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A Tennis Star, His Son and What It Really Means to Be a Hero Dad

Dr. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker

Dads, you are your child’s hero. Whether you like it or not, your child is born believing that you can do anything. It’s instinctual for him to believe this about you. I know for many dads this can feel like a lot of pressure. How can you be a hero every day? What about the times you’ve messed up in the past? What about the mistakes you will make in the future?

The good news is, you don’t have to earn hero status with your child. You already have it. Because of this, it’s important for you to believe it about yourself.

This week a touching father-son video went viral.

After losing what would be the last singles tennis match of his career, French tennis star Nicolas Mahut was comforted by his young son who ran onto the court to embrace him.

I love this picture of a hero dad. The father has just lost a tournament, and his son embraces him as if he had just won the championship. The son shows compassion, love, and admiration for his father, all in one gesture. This tells me that at home, Nicolas Mahut is probably a hero dad, not because he is a tennis champion, but because his son wants to be around him, his son has learned the importance of compassion, and his son doesn’t care if his dad wins or loses. In his young eyes, his dad is his hero and that’s better than being a winner any day.

This video proves that being a hero dad is NOT about…

…being successful.

You don’t have to make lots of money or win every tennis tournament or climb the corporate ladder to be considered a hero by your child. Simply spending time with your child is enough. Being there, being present and being attentive is the best currency when it comes to building a relationship with your child. Show your kids that you love being with them. And don’t fall into the trap of giving your kids everything but YOU. Every day, choose to give your children the gift of presence.

…being right.

You are going to make mistakes. You are just as much human as you are a hero. The trick is not to let your parenting mistakes hold you back or weigh you down with guilt. As a mom and a pediatrician for over 30 years, I’ve learned that kids actually want to forgive their parents. They are much quicker to forgive you than you are yourself. When it comes to being a dad, it isn’t a matter of if you mess but when. Your mistakes don’t have to make or break your relationship with your child.

…being the best.

As you saw in the video, your children don’t care if you’re the best at what you do. They’re not even wondering this about you. As far as they’re concerned, you exist when you are with them. What you do at work isn’t their concern. They care if you’re home if you’re around. They care what you think about them if you love them. Let them know that you do. Tell them with actual words. The power of a father’s words to his child cannot be underestimated.

Fathers, your goal is exactly what’s in the video above—to raise a child who is compassionate, who knows he can interrupt you at work to give you a hug, and who thinks you are his hero not because you’re a winner, but because you’re a dad.


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