Take Care of Yourself So You Can Be a Great Dad


Did you participate in Movember?

I kept shaving all month, but you can see this photo of me sporting a mustache from back in 1988—all knotted up with a stylin’ necktie, too.

This month I’ve seen pro athletes and men all over the place growing mustaches and various other facial designs to help raise awareness about men’s health. And I don’t want to let the month end without a reminder for all you committed dads.

This isn’t on my mind only because I saw facial hair on some guys. Several days before Thanksgiving, I had minor surgery—if there is such a thing—to take care of something unusual discovered during a health screening that was recommended for people my age. I’m very thankful that everything came back good news.

But it really got me thinking, and maybe you need to hear this too. I know many people who have not heard good news after routine health screenings, and their lives and families are forever changed. And what’s just as tragic, we men are notorious for not going to the doctor and getting those check-ups at all! My brother is a medical examiner, so he sees health from a different perspective. But he also affirmed that a lot of guys don’t bother with check-ups.

An article at MSNBC called “Too tough to get sick: Why men won’t go to the doctor,” describes one man, in his late twenties, who’s proud of the fact that he doesn’t go to the doctor. He works out and eats right and takes steps to manage his own health, so he doesn’t see a need to further clog up the healthcare system.

To each his own, I suppose. But as for me and my own, I want to be around a long time.

I’m 57, and with all the things going on in my body, I have a doctor for just about everything. More than ever, I’m aware that my time on earth is limited. My opportunities to enjoy and influence my children and grandchildren and other people around me are numbered.

For you young dads in your twenties and thirties, these kinds of thoughts might be the furthest thing from your mind. But believe me, you’ll be in my shoes sooner than you think. You’ll be wondering where the time went and savoring every minute with your family.

And the thing is, you’re making decisions right now that will impact your life when you’re my age. That’s true in many areas of life, including your health.

So, no matter what your age, I urge you to start doing the things you know you need to be doing. Get that annual check-up or have that milestone procedure. Make necessary changes in your diet. Be active. Get the sleep your body needs. Take time-outs every now and then to relax, or have another plan to manage stress.

Take good care of the body have. Your family will thank you. And someday … somehow … 57-year-old you will thank you, too.

Two more words from my brother: early detection!

Get more facts and health suggestions for men from the Movember website.

ACTION POINTS for Dads on the Journey

  • Making changes with regard to your health? Try to involve your whole family, so they can encourage you and hold you accountable. It will also make the changes a little easier.
  • Schedule an hour this weekend for active family fun. (Let the kids help plan the activity.)
  • Brainstorm with your family about adding or replacing a holiday tradition in the interest of everyone’s well-being.
  • Ask your wife or a close friend: “How healthy do I seem to be?” Unless you receive great feedback, make an appointment for a long-overdue check-up. Right now.
  • Make a serious commitment to be a better father and husband. (Better relationships reduce stress and enhance your health.) Get feedback on how you’re doing as a father here.

We want to hear from you. How do you include healthy habits and activities in your fathering? Please leave a comment either below or on our Facebook page.


Carey CaseyCarey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers who to make the Championship Fathering Commitment. NCF believes that every child needs a dad they can count on, and uses its resources to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need. Subscribe to his weekly email tip by clicking here: “Yes! I want tips on how to be a great dad who loves, coaches, mentors, and inspires my children.

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