About This Book


Children view their fathers with awe from the day they are born. Fathers are big and strong and seem to know everything, except when their kids are teenagers — then they know nothing. This book represents a new theme for Chicken Soup, with 101 great stories selected from our library, all focusing on the wisdom of fathers. Stories are written by sons and daughters about their fathers, and by fathers about their children.

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Five tips for being a great dad
Inspired by Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Wisdom of Dads by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Amy Newmark


Fatherhood is an awesome responsibility and a lot of work, but it's also one of the most rewarding jobs a man can do. There is no single right way to parent. Mistakes are inevitable, but being part of his child's life is the most important thing. In Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Wisdom of Dads, parents and children share 101 stories of influential relationships and meaningful experiences. For fathers new and old, here are five tips for being a great dad.

1. Play to your strengths. Deborah Shouse's dad always told jokes. He started at breakfast and snuck puns into every conversation throughout the day, whether at a neighborhood picnic or while meeting Deborah's new boyfriend. Deborah thought his humor was annoying, until years later when a friend pointed out that her dad made him feel comfortable with his jokes. She suddenly realized her dad's humor made people feel welcome and part of the group. "My father has been quietly accomplishing the things I've been reading and studying about for years," Deborah shares. "I'd been in the presence of a master all these years without even realizing it."

2. Love unselfishly. On Marianne Vincent's 19th birthday, her mom was in the hospital, her dad was upset and all Marianne could think of was her birthday. She was closer to her mom than her dad, who she felt was unsympathetic about her ruined birthday plans. When she found out her mom only had four months to live, Marianne realized how selfish she had been. Through those difficult times, her dad held the family together. He was supportive and forgiving when Marianne needed it most, especially after her mother's passing. "My dad loved me unconditionally, right or wrong, good or bad," Marianne writes. "I have tried throughout the years to be half the parent he is, making my children my first priority and sharing the unselfish love he gave me."

3. Create a tradition. When she was a little girl, Judith Marks-White and her father began a tradition when they went to lunch. Her dad shared a "top-secret piece of news" from his teenage years, which opened the door to many more honest and interesting lunch dates. Their conversations helped guide Judith though childhood, adolescence and young adulthood. As an adult, Judith and her dad continued the tradition, having dinner every Tuesday without fail, until her father passed suddenly. "Despite my sadness, I was energized, knowing how lucky I was to have shared the Tuesdays of my life with him," Judith shares, "and the great life lessons he passed on to me." Now she continues the tradition with her grandchildren.

4. Forgive one another. Michael Shawn and his father never had a close relationship. Michael's mother died just before he turned two, and his dad was busy and away on business a lot. At 15, Michael left home, caring about nothing other than drugs. He didn't contact his dad at all. It wasn't until he met his future wife that he found the strength to go to rehab and turn his life around. Several years later, Michael was happily married with a newborn daughter, but still too guilty and afraid to reach out to his dad. When his wife was killed in a car accident, he was devastated and struggled to stay sober. His dad helped save him by showing up on his doorstep one night, wanting to reunite. They apologized to each for their mistakes, and not long after, Michael's dad moved in with him and his daughter. "Sometimes, a second chance is all it takes," Michael says.

5. Tell your kids you're proud of them. Gunter David and his son, Peter, had grown apart in the years since Peter moved away and became busy with a successful career. When Peter invited Gunter on a trip to Romania to take a small role in one of his movies, Gunter was surprised. He had wanted to go into the film industry as a young man, so it meant a lot for his son to give him this opportunity. During their trip, Peter confided in him about his insecurities and concerns. Peter also shared that he wanted his father to see what he'd accomplished. "I realized how much he loved me, as I loved him, and how he needed my acknowledgment and approval," Gunter shares. "I told him then how impressed I was with all he had accomplished, and how proud I was of him." It's what they needed to reconnect and form a tight bond.

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