dad son and bike

What is a Dad? No Pain, No Gain

28 February 2021

2.1 MINS

What is a Dad? The poem below says it all:

A dad is someone who
wants to catch you before you fall
but instead picks you up,
brushes you off,
and lets you try again.

A dad is someone who
wants to keep you from making mistakes
but instead lets you find your own way,
even though his heart breaks in silence
when you get hurt.

A dad is someone who
holds you when you cry,
scolds you when you break the rules,
shines with pride when you succeed,
and has faith in you even when you fail.

~ by Susan Ceylise ~

This poem is the best articulation of the inherent tension of being a dad that I have ever read.

You love your children, but sometimes you must allow them to make their own mistakes, which inevitably means they will hurt themselves in the process. Our children’s pain hurts us as well, but this pain is a necessary part of being a father.

I remember when my youngest son rode a bike for the first time. The truth is, he started off on training wheels, which made it so much easier — thank God for training wheels.

The guy behind the below video, Dude Dad, does not agree with me, but I still hold to my case. There is more than one way to skin a cat.


The big day came when I had to take the training wheels off, put my hand on the seat of his bike and run behind him until he gathered speed to get mobile on his own. I tried to pick a patch with some grass, as opposed to concrete, but inevitably even falling on hard packed grass can hurt.

From memory there were a few tears, but he got the hang of it until he no longer fell off his bike. I guess we have to look on the bright side, because my dad wasn’t really around to teach me properly how to ride a bike, and there weren’t any training wheels back then either.

So for me as a boy, there were lots of bruises and grazes to heal, and a lot more pain per square inch than my son suffered. I guess that’s why it is so important for dads to be there for their children at such crucial times. ‘No pain, no gain’ is the old sport’s saying that well applies.

Growing up involves pain for both a father and his child, but I guess the main goal is to minimise the pain and maximise the gain for both fathers and their children. But let me let you in on a secret. This cycle continues as your children grow older, and the problems become more complex and so does the pain.

The last part of the poem deals again with the tension that true love must endure. True love comforts our children in their disappointments, but disciplines them in their rebellion. True love is proud of our children when they succeed, but still believes in them when they fail.


Read this poem again and be inspired, encouraged and challenged because that’s what being a dad is all about. Yes, the video is helpful too!

Yours for being a Dad,
Warwick Marsh

[Photo by Yan Krukov from Pexels]

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