For most of my career as a TV producer I spent lots of time on planes, mostly Delta. And being a friendly guy would always be ready to listen to a seat mates wanting to talk. When they would find out I was involved in producing programs about and for kids, the conversation would often turn to their role as parents.
Some would tell me all they were doing for their kids: car, clothes, vacations. And some would talk about how they have failed their kids by never being home. The point is most of the time these seat mates were reaching out and asking, am I doing the right thing? My answer was always the same: kids need to know their Dad is there for them and will always give them emotional support and encouragement.
It didn’t take long into the conversation that they would admit that the material things were not what really matters, rather it was their presence in their kid’s lives that really made the difference. For a busy person it is easy to confuse presents, with presence. Some seem to think that the gift is a symbol of their love. To the child it is often seen as a substitute for attention and love.
Most dads are busy guys. But we always must remember that a dad is the most important man is his kids’ lives. What does this mean? Well it is scary! It means that whatever we say or do makes a lasting impression on our kids and shapes their futures.
So what are we busy guys to do? That is what we are going to explore as we write The Manual For Dads together. I am going to lead the conversation by talking about what it means to be present to your kids. We will talk about how to make the time with your kids the most it can be. And the good news is, it is not real hard, and not at all expensive. It really doesn’t cost anything.
When I was preparing to publish this blog I asked many of my friends who are dadding masters, men of all different ages and backgrounds, to tell me what they thought of dadding. To a man each one had something in his response that dealt with being there or being present or as one said “noticing” their kids.
I do want this to be a dialog. So what do you think? Please contribute to the conversation and don’t forget to tell other dads about The Manual For Dads we are creating together.
Remember: TheManualForDads is for men who love their kids.