Experienced dads share their fatherhood tips

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First-time fathers have a new essence about their lives as everything that they have ever known completely changes with a new life being welcomed.

Babies require around-the-clock attention and care, which is one of the many new obstacles new fathers face.

However, experienced fathers in Sumter have taken their time to share fatherhood tips for the new or expectant dads.

Father and son duo, both fathers, Harold and Buddy Thompson, believe that the key to any working relationship is to have steady communication.

"Talk with your mate and kids," 80-year-old Harold said. "Yeah, like my dad said," Buddy, 58, said. "You need to say what you mean and mean what you say."

Bobby Richardson, 81, said his retirement from the New York Yankees was made on the decision to dedicate more time to his family.

"My life with baseball made me feel like my family was growing up without me," Richardson said. "I wanted, and still do, to make sure that my children know that I love them. My biggest tip to new fathers is to make it known that you love them and try your best to spend time with them."

Retired military general, John Duffie, 81, wanted to alert the new fathers to be prepared to be stern with their children all the while making sure they know they are loved.

"If the new fathers have more than one child," Duffie said, "make sure to show them equal time. Do your best to not show preference and recognize that each child is different, meaning they're going to have different individual talents."

Duffie also mentioned that new fathers, if religious, need to remember to spend time in the church.

"One of the most important things for our family and a tip is to get your family in church," Duffie advised. "Go with your children to Sunday school and church."

Wallie Jones, 69, said as a father, he has learned he cannot be both father and friend. In fact, he suggests that new fathers remember their place and be tough, gentle and caring when needed.

"Remember," Jones began, "children don't get to pick their parents; but, parents have an obligation to guide, nurture and help their children grow."

Bobby Robinson, 71, said as a baker at Perfection Bakery, he has always taught his children the importance of working hard and following their dreams.

"I spend time with my kids all the time," Robinson said. "I've been working at Perfection Bakery for 50 plus years and I've always told my kids, 'follow your passion and love what you do. That's the only way to get by.'"

The overall census the experienced fathers agreed on was to ensure the children know they are loved, supported and overall, they said new fathers need to be prepared to mold their children through the good and bad.

In addition, Jones also wanted to remind fathers that children are a gift.

"From the time they're born," Jones said, "you're preparing them to leave and be on their own. Nurture them and cherish the time you have with them."