Dad playing aeroplane with son.

The two most important DadWords

As a father you are the most important man in your children’s lives. Dads are their son’s first hero and their daughter’s first romance. It’s an inspiring and deeply fulfilling position to be in but it’s also challenging!

Let’s be honest being a great dad is not easy. And kids don’t come with a manual. One author put it well when he said he used to have six theories about how to be a good father, now he has six kids and no theories. After 25 years of being a dad, years of working with men and having written two books on fatherhood there are two simple words for me that capture the essence of being a great father. Let me explain.

When my daughter Blythe was just seven years old, we decided as a family to move from Johannesburg to Knysna. My wife and two children, Luke and Blythe, made the move two weeks ahead of me as I had some business to finish off in Joburg.  One week into this two-week period I was on the phone to Blythe and I said to her, “isn’t it wonderful living by the sea!?” Her answer was totally unexpected. She said, “if this was my life I would scream”. Shocked and worried I immediately asked her, “why my precious?”.

She answered simply, “because you’re not here daddy”.


I was floored. Her reply brought tears to my eyes and opened them to the two magic words that are the foundation of great fatherhood:



That’s all.  Be there. Be present, be engaged. Be there for all the important moments and be there too for the day to day moments. There is no substitute for a father’s presence in his children’s lives. It is far, far more important than his presents.

There are many things that rob children of their father’s presence. The pursuit of wealth at the expense of quality time with family. A distracted mind. Being there but not there. Constantly engaging with devices, social media, digital addiction. Every father needs to be conscious, intentional and uncompromising about carving out quality time with his children. Being there means being engaged. Connecting. Listening. Hearing. Responding. Paying attention. Showing by your time and attention that your child is more important to you than who wins the soccer or rugby match on Saturday afternoon.

You can tell quickly and clearly what a man values most by what he spends his time doing.


Show your children how much you value them by giving them time. Quality time happens when you are busy spending quantity time.  Take your children on dates, together and individually. Ask them what they want to do with you and make time to do exactly that. Take your daughter on a “dad date”. Dress up, open the door for her, treat her like a princess, give her your undivided attention. Tell your son you are going to spend Saturday afternoon with him doing what he wants to do. Have a ball together. No cell phones – just you and him bonding, connecting and having fun.

Here’s the bottom line: the greatest investment you will ever make as a dad is in your child and the currency of that investment is time. This Father’s Day give your children the gift of you. Make a commitment to yourself and your children from this day on to give them the time they so deeply need from you. Remember – succeed as a man and the effect may be felt for your lifetime, succeed as a father and the effect will be felt for generations.




To celebrate everything it means to be a dad, I’ve partnered with NetFlorist to give away 3 personalised Father’s Day gifts!

To get in line to win one of these awesome gifts for yourself or the special dad in your life, look out for the giveaway posts on my Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feed this week – winners will be announced 10th June so your gift can be delivered by Father’s Day. I’ll also be giving each of the 3 lucky winners free access to my recently launched Ultimate Dad Online Course valued at R650, so don’t miss this opportunity!

Personalised Best Dad Biltong cutter.Personalised Best Dad Biltong cutter.
Personalised Super Dad Beer Mug
Personalised Dad Cap
Dad Coach - The Ultimate Dad Online Course


* NetFlorist gifts only available in South Africa.

Craig Wilkinson

Craig is a bestselling South African author, award winning social entrepreneur, inspirational speaker and Dad Coach. He is passionate about the crucial role fathers play in the lives of their children and society. Drawing from his experience of raising two children to adulthood and over a decade of working with men, Craig has produced resources for fathers at all stages of their fatherhood journey. Craig is also the founder and CEO of Father a Nation (FAN), an NPO whose mission is to restore and equip men to be great fathers, mentors and role models.