11/19/2013 08:38 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

19 Lessons Great Dads Can Teach You About Being A Better Father

So, you're a dad. Or you hope to be one in the future. The bad news is there is no real road map for success. The good news is there are some incredible role models to give you inspiration.

Below are 19 ways to be the most awesome dad in the world, but if all else fails, just dance.

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1. Be willing to sacrifice your old-school cool ... and sometimes your ears.

This guy is one of many dads who have attended a One Direction concert, for the sake of their children. It's unclear if he's wearing ear plugs to protect his ears from the music because it's loud, or because it's terrible. Maybe both.

2. Find ways to be there when it matters most.

"The World's Best Dad" is the guy who's there no matter what. We know that's easier said than done, but it's the big moments that count most. In the photo above, a father takes his daughter with special needs to prom.

3. Embrace the "dad joke."

This might have been the most expensive dad joke ever. Normally, they don't cost a dime, though they have been known to elicit more than a groan or two. That's how you know you're doing it right.

4. Be ready to step up as the hero...

A Sparrowhawk flew into this family's window and injured its wing. The father repaired the broken wing and then the Sparrowhawk came back "to visit" multiple times after they set it free. Now we know most dads aren't vets, but every kid just wants a hero. It's about being confident in your own abilities.

5. ...or the Dude.

This dad pulled off a show-stopping "Big Lebowski" impersonation on the main street of Durango, Colo.

6. Understand that kids want to do "grown up" things. Sometimes that can be as simple as giving them a regularly shaped pizza.

Above is the work of a father who creatively cut a smaller pizza out of a larger pizza to make his six-year-old son feel included.

7. ...or teaching them how to "shave."


These girls might not have beards, but they still seem extremely eager to join their dad in his morning routine. Ryan Sanders is the communication & cause marketing manager at the National Fatherhood Initiative, an organization whose mission is to "improve the well-being of children by increasing the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers."

Image: Instagram @ryansanders

8. Be the guy who shows them the world.

No. 1 dads hang out with their kids and shape those early experiences.

9. Use your talents to give your kid something they'll remember forever.

An amazing hero can be that dad who throws the best birthday party. This father used his skills as a tattoo artist to draw fake tattoos on his son and his son's friends. For those wondering, he asked permission from the families involved.

10. Occasionally go above and beyond, even when something simpler would have sufficed.

Check out the full gallery showing how these were made.

11. Like really above and beyond...

Here's a thorough how-to created by an awesome mom after seeing the original above, created by a dad.

12. But understand that being the hero sometimes means simply letting your little one be the superhero.

Sometimes you just have to be Robin.

13. Encourage artistic passions, no matter the type.

Pink nail polish only costs a few dollars, and being embarrassed to go barefoot is a small price to pay for your son or daughter's smile.

14. Understand that you won't have all the answers, and be willing to laugh about it.


Parenting is hard and scary, so make sure to keep a level head and remain honest about all of its challenges. Dave Engledow has created an extensive scrapbook called "World's Best Father" for his daughter, Alice Bee, in which he puts her in all types of "dangerous" positions using Photoshop and other methods of trick photography.

Image: Facebook Engledow Art Photography

15. Realize you don't have to be an Iron Man. That'd just be silly...

Those kids already know their father is awesome.

16. Be willing to take your kids along for the ride...

Sometimes just hanging around the house can be extremely fun. Pro skateboarder Tony Hawk had to initially apologize for "endangering" his daughter in this picture, but eventually came back with this very believable response on Instagram.

17. ...because the ride doesn't last forever.

As they're growing up, those kids will be really interested in what you do, no matter what it is. Just invite them and they'll feel like they're going on a surfin' safari. Above, pro surfer Sion Milosky is seen riding a wave with his daughter. Milosky drowned in 2011 at the age of 35.

18. Always remember how important it can be to give an extra push...

Team Hoyt! Dick Hoyt still pushes his son Rick, who has cerebral palsy, in marathons and triathlons across the United States to raise awareness about embracing disabled people in the community.

19. And that just coming home can mean everything.

The boy asked Santa for his dad to come home for Christmas. Here's a video of that happening.

And even if you're never perfect, just try not to do this...

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Everyone is capable of being a great dad!

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