Parenting: 6 Observations on Fatherhood

Just the other day my oldest son asked:

"Daddy, am I old enough to call you Dad?"

Won't be long now before he is asking for the car keys.......

Here are a few things I'm learning as well as some important things I've discovered so far about this thing called fathering.

1. You really have to give up the myth of quality time vs quantity time. By the time the average child is 7 years old, they have watched 20,000 commercials. Given that amount of influence, infrequent "quality time" just doesn't cut it. It has to be quantity time that's of high quality.

2. As a dad you have been influenced and effected by the generations of fathering that went on before you. By the same token, the fathering we do will not effect only the children in our home. The job we do as fathers, for better or worse, will effect generations to come.

3. Sue Shellenbarer, a columnist for The Wall Street Journal has coined the phrase the "tomorrow trap." She describes the tomorrow trap as "living for the future, taking refuge in visions of a relaxed and rewarding personal and family life somewhere down the road.....a kind of mirage that people chase while in reality they are burying themselves in work and other pursuits."

Ouch. Sounds familiar to me, how about you? As dads we have to remember that not only does "someday" never come, it's not even on the calendar. Spend the savored time now, because today is here.

4. Some of us may not have had the best model for a dad in our own father, or perhaps no model at all. That's sad and painful. What it is not is an excuse. It can be a springboard for change. Whatever has been handed down to us, we can decide to change in this generation. There is so much information available now on how to do this dad thing.

5. Just he other day a father asked me "how do I play with my little kids." While it's sad that the question has to be asked, the answer is really quite simple. Get down on the floor with them, and let them lead. You follow.

6. "Daddy's home!" are two of the best words in the English language.

Visit SecretsofGreatRelationships.com for tips and tools for creating and growing a great relationship. You can also subscribe to our f*r*e*e 10 day e-program on how to enrich your relationship today, from relationship coach and expert Jeff Herring.

In The News:

Parenting Kids in the Age of Screens, Social Media and Digital Devices  Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project
Parenting pangs during a pandemic  The New Indian Express
The Real Work of Parenting a Rare Girl  The Wall Street Journal
‘They Go to Mommy First’  The New York Times

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