Being the Best Dad in the World: The secret is in priorities, tenacity, and judgment

I had a really nice Father’s Day this year. My grown-up girls came to see me and treated me to a really great day and I had a chance to see all the grandkids and we had a tremendous amount of fun. But I didn’t know it until the next morning what they had written about me on their social media accounts which was the best thing of all. It was my oldest daughter who wrote the little testament below, but my youngest had a bit to add which I share only as an example for others to follow. One thing I will openly admit about myself is that I work extremely hard literally every minute of every day to be the best that I can be. Being the “best” is a value judgment, so I am certainly not one of these people who believe in living and let live kinds of people who profess that no judgments about others should be made. I judge everything, literally, and I see that as a very healthy thing for the human condition, and as a father I didn’t hold back with my kids. I always put them first no matter what I personally might have wanted to do and made sure that they lived in a stimulating environment while they worked out their intellects protected by the very many bad people in life from within our families and out side of them, so that they could developed into the great people they are today. They are now at the age where they can appreciate all that effort and they let me know how they felt on Father’s Day.

Honestly, I think I may have been, and am the best father in the history of fathers. Again, I aim to push myself in everything I do, I want to be the best at everything—so if I’m going to go to the truly ominous step of bringing lives into the world, I did make several conscious decisions to ensure that those lives would get a very special treatment from my job as a father. If I was going to do it, I was going to do it better than anyone had thought was previously possible and looking back on it now, with all the difficulties of raising specifically girls in a world that is trying to push them in all kinds of inauthentic directions, I am very proud of the job. I’ve never claimed to be humble in any way, so I don’t mind showing off a bit how proud I am of my kids and how much they care about me because I hope it serves as an example to others that a successful relationship with their children is not only possible, but its encouraged.

So what makes a father so important and how could one become the “best?” Well, don’t listen to any examples from modern movies. Don’t look to literature, comics or your next-door neighbor. Don’t look at politics or even to the limits of your own upbringings. Most of the time, the parental influences from the previous generations fall short of greatness because they were taught that they were supposed to be meek and weak, and humble before God. Speaking from experience if I had been the kind of person who waited for God to solve my problems my family wouldn’t be what it is today. Thinking of one example, I was working three jobs, one full-time, two part time and one of them was a grill cook at Wendy’s near Kings Island. My neighbors across the street from my home where my kids lived were drug dealers and they had a teenage son that offered my kids dope while they were riding their bicycles. My wife showed her anger at this and instead of the kid yielding to the activity out of respect, he invited over to his house every thug in Mason to gather on their front lawn and yell at my wife—essentially to force her to stay inside the house and not to watch their activities. They were trying to scare her into silence.

We only had one car and I always left the car with my wife so that if something happened with the kids she could take care of it. But on this day there was a yard full of roughly 30 teenage thugs in front of our house making it so that my kids couldn’t play in front of our house. She had tried to call the police, but at that point the police were clearly on the side of the drug dealers. I found out later that the local police were getting a cut of the money from the family because I approached the mayor on the issue and that’s how I learned it. So the police had labeled my wife as one of those neurotic types who called the police too much, so they wouldn’t come to break up the activity, and the teenage kids seemed to know it feeding their aggression. That left my wife with only one option, she called me at my Wendy’s job and asked me to come home and solve the problem. So I left and rode my bicycle the 8 miles it took to get back to my house, while it was pouring rain, and I arrived about 20 minutes later to the scene of the spectacle. My daughter who wrote the nice little article shown here had my bullwhip ready to give me because she knew I was going to fight all those kids and she thought I’d need it. I grabbed it and set to challenging all those kids at the same time to a fight. I unloaded on them in one of the most epic rampages I’ve had in my life. It wasn’t the only one, but it was certainly one of the best. I had no idea at the time if I’d be arrested for charging onto the property of a neighbor and threatening to kill all their punky kids. So I figured I better make the whole thing count.

As it turned out the parents of the house wanted nothing to do with the police coming to break up the fight and having it known what they actually had at the house in the form of drugs. The local cops obviously knew, but the police department itself really couldn’t afford for this house to be exposed in the news, so the mom came outside and called all thirty of those kids into the house, for which they strangely obeyed. They left me standing outside with my bullwhip ready to kill someone, all by myself with the entire neighborhood watching. I stayed out there pacing around for a half hour fully expecting the police to arrive as someone would have surely called them. But the police never came and eventually I went back into our house to speak to our family.

When my kids talk about some of the crazy stories from them growing up, this is one of them, although not the greatest. But for me it was one of those father moments when I thought I was going to go to jail for doing all the right things. If the house across the street hadn’t been “politically sensitive” I obviously would have for threatening to kill 30 minors. A few of them were over 18 but most were between 15 and 18 and what I was doing was certainly against the law. But I had to do what had to be done to protect my family. As a result of that escapade we went into a two-year cold war with that family and several others who lived on our street, but my kids were free to ride their bikes in front of our house without anybody bothering them. Eventually, the police told us that if we wanted to live in a nice neighborhood, that we should move to one instead of trying to make the place we lived in Mason a neighborhood to our standards. I took the issue to the mayor’s office of Mason, but he had no stomach for any of it, which pointed obviously to a much deeper corruption within our community that we otherwise wouldn’t have known about. I always thought that our neighborhood was nice and that the community of Mason was on the uptick, which it obviously was looking back on things, but there were lots of middle class people living there who wanted drugs, especially pot, and that family across the street was happy to bring it in for them, and the police were happy to help as long as they were able to get their hands on some extra cash.

Being a great father means sometimes you have to do things like that, even though your own personal comfort is certainly not a consideration. In my situation, I was literally working 110 hours a week and we only had one car so I was riding a bicycle to all these jobs. I never had extra money in my pocket for snacks in the vending machines, I could never afford to treat myself to anything, except for the many books that I did buy to read during my breaks so that I could get smarter and work myself out of such a tough position. Being a good dad means you put the kids first in front of everything, because if you bring them into the world, you better make sure they get everything they need, even when it doesn’t seem fair that a father should have to go so far. Over the next twenty years after that event, there would be many more challenges, some of them outright scary. But kids expect fearlessness out of their parents, and its especially the job of a father to give it to them, so that they know when they lay their heads down each night that someone is shielding them from the evils of the world, so that they can intellectually develop properly. At some point they need to become those people for their own kids, and it is a much easier job when they have some example to live off of and I consider myself a great dad because even with many events like the one described, I still took time to make sure my kids felt that the world was a good place that would bend to their will, if they had the will to do it. So for me, it was greatly satisfying to have them tell me their thanks on this particular Father’s Day in 2018.

As a person I’ve had a very adventurous life and it has at times been very dangerous. I’ve been involved with real life mobsters, (long story from a long time ago) been in conflicts where people died, been in trouble at just about every level of our court system, worked with politicians at all levels, worked every kind of job imaginable, had to defend myself countless times, sometimes violently. I’ve been around the world and seen a lot of different things, I’ve been at the top of the world career wise and at the lowest of the low barely getting by. But at no point in all those experiences did I not put my children first. For example, often I would work a 16-hour 2nd and 3rd shift on a Saturday and instead of sleeping I would go with the family to Kings Island for the day to show the kids a good time. At 4 PM I went back to work as they went home and I had no sleep, and I’d do another 16 hours of work after that. During all this I wrote a few books, and still pursued creative projects and the kids noticed, and as adults they appreciate all that effort. And that is the best Father’s Day gift of all, and for me I am happy that they are happy. Because that’s what it was all for. In that context I can say that I was the best father that anybody could hope for, and that type of effort is what it takes to call yourself one.

Rich Hoffman

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