My old college roommate is by all accounts a very good and cool guy. He has a cool job, a family he loves, and he drag races and plays in the World Series of Poker fairly routinely. When he gave me a book on being a dad, I knew I had to bump it to the top of my book stack. Dr. Meg Meeker’s Hero didn’t disappoint.
Meeker is a thirty-year pediatrician and has become something of a parenting guru who has written several books and makes frequent television appearances. She’s also involved with the NFL’s Fatherhood Initiative (several current and former football players make cameos in the book). Meeker has also been on the TED stage. She is Christian and apparently a friend to Christian money guy Dave Ramsey, who wrote the foreward to her book. That gives you an idea of where her parenting philosophy may be traditional and also informed by medical training and scholarship.
Whether or not you are very religious, I think you will find value in the book. Christianity takes maybe three pages-worth of the 176 pages of substance in the book. The overall premise is this – whether you feel like a hero or not, your children view you as a larger than life figure. What you do matters to them immensely, and they’re always watching. Your kids want your approval and acceptance and want to learn how to live from you. What you do matters more than what you say.
While this premise sounds intimidating, I found it comforting and encouraging. Meeker says being a good dad is simple (if not easy): Be the hero that your kids already think you are. Model the behavior you want them to adopt. My two favorite quotes:
Act sacrificially. Leaders always put the welfare of others first – in your case, dad, that means your wife and children.
Fathers forget to play with their kids because they think they need to “get things done”…nothing is as urgent or more important than spending time with your family…Give yourself a breather – and play. You won’t regret it.