The hugs and kisses that you get from your children are more valuable than gold. There is no such thing as a richer man than one that is the target of a child’s embrace. I wasted have of my life thinking about what success was and getting wrong. Chasing what is supposed to be the American Dream is crap because it is about what you have. It is materialistic or vocational status.
My father was/is a very “decorated man”. He has built hospitals, been a big dog in Rotary International, the man of the year, an employee of the year, founder of several charitable organizations. He has been huge in his church and community. He was/is a go-getter. At 87, he works 2 jobs because he “wants to”. He also can drive a car like a pro. He is always on the go. However, he keeps telling me that none of the recognition and awards mean anything. What means the most to him is family. He looks back his life with regret concerning his schedule, wishing he would have spent more quality time with the kids. Ironically, he was always there as far as I can remember.
When I became a father in my early 20’s I was still immature and had no idea what I was doing. I don’t think that most young dads embrace the little things that make life wonderful. I became a quick learner. Being with my kids became the most awesome and valuable time I was spending at home. I loved getting trampled by them when I would get home from work. After dinner, it was playtime that usually resulted in tickling and wrestling. This was usually followed up by the dad trampoline. This was quite simple. I laid down on the floor and the kids would practice diving onto me. It was like we had our own pro-wrestling league and they would come off the top ropes to the roar of the crowd, which was actually the laughter of the others.
We would laugh, love, chase, wrestle until we were all pooped out. Then it was time for showers/baths. Once “jammies” we on, it was snuggle and veg time. My boys had energy from sources unknown. Any efforts to get them to sleep was a chore. However, my daughter would crawl up into my lap and lay her head on my chest/shoulder. She was OUT…lol. I never wanted those moments to end. I was a King! I was the richest man on the planet. Keep your riches and gold. I had everything I could ever want.
There are so many dads that miss out on this time. I feel so sorry for them. This is a time that sets up a success and open relationship that can continue for a lifetime. You need to start as early as possible. However elementary or basic these things may sound, don’t pass up these opportunities if at all possible. This when you can become a hero. Play with them. Do embarrassing and stupid stuff. Show me a dad with a daughter that never wore nail polish, make-up, or a crown at his daughter’s request, I will show you someone that has missed out.
So what if you missed those opportunities? Then you start from where you are. You will hear me say this many times. You can always start the race from where you are. This is the wonderful cheat of the dad world. I would never want to default to it, but it is there. However, I want to give you some clues on how to get on the hero list of your kids, whether they are biological or not. So here is a list that may help:
- Listen more than you speak. Dads like to give advice. Be cautious before you dive into this trend.
- Kids want to be heard, not necessarily having every issue solved for them. The one that listens to them is golden.
- Don’t dismiss their fears and anxiety. This is a common dad screw up.
- Be a ROCK. Don’t give in to things and ideas that you know are unhealthy or don’t serve the child’s best interest.
- Love them more than your popularity with them.
Being a dad is awesome but difficult at times. If you love your kids without limits, you will need to endure times that are difficult and uncomfortable. You must put yourself through the wringer so that they will have the best chances at success and growth. Dads, you can be the hero, but it will cost you. It won’t be a title given but earned. You can do it. Be the best dad possible.