In my most recent post, “Dads Are Busy Guys” I mentioned that I had 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.
Today, I will share some of these dadding masters comments with you. I hope you will then share some of your thoughts and experiences with the rest of us. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.
Here are my thoughts:
A dad is a role model. In every action, every expression, every opinion, he must know that his children are watching him and learning. He must have every virtue that he wants his children to have, because they learn far more from what he does than what he says. This necessarily includes his priorities – if he shows them they are the most important thing in the world to him, they will do the same with their children, and he will have inspired generations to come.
I could probably write pages on just what I’ve said there, but I think it sums up how I feel right now.
In terms of “dadding,” I think the two things that have guided me are to “be there when you’re there- kid time is focused on the kids, not trying to multi-task other things,” and “know your limits. Like anything else, something I love for a few hours becomes painful for everyone if I do it for too long. When I know I’m going to have the kids for many hours, I develop a plan in advance for activities (parks, meals, walks, etc.) that will keep us all bouncing along happily.”
More than what a father can say or provide, he must live with his children. He must be present. He must daily demonstrate he cherishes their lives and their mother’s. They need to know him by his actively living with them. Fathers fail when they haphazardly take leave of their children – the “Cat’s in the Cradle” syndrome. A father doesn’t live “around” his children but with them. That other guy living “around” them is a stranger. A father has no leeway to believe the child understands him. The patterns of the father become patterns in the child. Neither words nor “quality time” can distinguish or extinguish a father’s role. The child becoming an adult remembers the day to day, the year to year and what the father was.