By Bob Smietana, The Tennessean
When it comes to parenting, being loving and supportive are more important than being fun or spiritual, according to a new poll from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.
The national poll of 1,504 Americans asked respondents to rate 16 characteristics of good parents.
Being loving was number one, with 85 percent of respondent saying that characteristic was important for moms and 79 percent saying it was important for dads. Words such as supportive, protecting, encouraging and involved also rated highly.
Fun, on the other hand, rated at 57 percent for moms and 54 percent for dads. About a third of respondents listed spirituality as important, while about a quarter said being a "Committed Christian" mattered.
"It's not surprising that being loving was number one," said Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research, which specializes in studying evangelical Christians.
McConnell said that he was surprised that fun rated so low. He also said that Americans wanted the same things from moms and dads.
"I expected there to be more differences," he said. "A lot of people expected fathers to be tender, and that was surprising."
McConnell said that church pastors report Mother's Day one of the highest days for church attendance, which is why the survey included two faith-based characteristics.
He said that faith can help parents be loving and supportive of their children.
"That's going to be your source of being able to love," he said.
He was concerned that faith didn't rate higher and was concerned that parents aren't paying attention to their children's spirituality.