Monthly Archives: December 2013

…And to All a Good Night

When I got old enough, my parents and older sister told me that in fact Santa was not the jolly man at Wyman’s Department Store in South Bend, Indiana, but he lived in the hearts of all as the spirit of Christmas.

Since Santa is a spirit he inhabits those who wish to share love and joy with others. And to your kids you bring that spirit of Christmas to them.

For dads Christmas can be very stressful. Lots to accomplish and not much time. Sometime work places extra burdens on you during the holidays. And family can create stress for all kinds of reasons. (My brother-in-law Rick tells me that “the reason God places us in families is so we won’t fight with strangers”). But I have found the best way to celebrate Christmas with your kids is to do it stress free.

“That’s easy to say” you complain.  But I tell you it is possible more often than not.  Sure sometimes very disturbing things happen around Christmas that you have no control over. I am not talking about those kinds of things here. What I am talking about are the petty things that often happen when families get together that get in the way of joy and celebration.

If you follow my posts you will recall I often mention that as the dad you should set the emotional agenda for your kids. You are the adult, and you need to take charge of the moment. So if things start to go sour for any reason, take the initiative and turn things around. Find a way to change the subject, distract this distractor and put all the energy toward a pleasant time.

Christmas dinner is an especially important event as you gather around the table with your kids. Talk about the Christmas story, about the good people do for one another, about how your family is fortunate to have each other.  If none of these suggestions work, then come up with other topics that create a time of joy and togetherness.

As a dad, be sensitive to the fact that your kids are excited with all that’s going on, so they need a little more patience and understanding. Although this is not a time to say “anything goes” it is OK to take a more relaxed view of things. After all you personify the spirit of Christmas. So when in doubt think of “what would Santa do?”

Whether you are a Christian or not, Christmas is a good time of year for all. For what is celebrated is a feast of love. This is reason to say Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight.

Guest post on dads and daughters

As daughters many of us felt our dads were too busy, too distracted, and too often thinking of work. The father/daughter relationship is one that has been written about for decades and remains a mystery. We either marry the opposite or try to find a man just like daddy. There is no middle ground.

My father passed away in August after ten years of emergency room visits, surgeries, and moves, all guided by me. The best thing I did to grow closer to the busy, super intelligent man who was my father, was to start a tradition that went on for 15 years. I invited him to a formal banquet every year known as the father/daughter formal gala.

I always wanted him to take me somewhere special but he was very frugal with his money. I bought the tickets for his birthday each year. I have 15 memory photos from the occasions. We had an agreement that I could ask him one question each year and he would have to give me a serious answer, with no joking around.

There is more to the story but in short we were given a place of honour at our 15th event. I wrote our story for the program….and now he is gone.   My brother and I gave the tribute at his funeral and I told everyone that I knew 15 things about my dad that likely many others didn’t know, all because of a tradition that I started.

–Maureen Haddock,
Daughter, mother of two girls, wife, author, thinker and doer.

A guest posts thoughts on “Dadding” and what we model for our kids.

“Dadding”? Mmmmmm…. Listening for sure…paramount, it’s important for children to be heard and to feel honored. I think consciousness about what we say and model in front of our kids is possibly one of the most undervalued and overlooked aspects of parenting. I know from my own behavior I have some negative personal traits (complaining, etc.) that clearly have been modeled on my mother. I’ve heard my kids repeat things I’ve said in conversations with their friends that I was embarrassed to have said in the first place.

Travel, adventure, and physical exercise…you should model a these things for your kids…show them life can be an exciting adventure, and that it’s possible to go through it, vibrant with vitality and good spirits.

Of course loving physicality is extremely important; no one can receive enough hugs and kisses in this lifetime!

“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence.  When mindfulness embraces those we love, we bloom like flowers.”  —Tich Nhat Hahn

-Ben Daughtrey
Father of two girls.  Television and film Producer/Director
Los Angeles

A short guest post worth some reflection. Take some time with it.

A  dad can look back to his days as a child.

Put together all the good bits you noticed about your dad and all the fathers of your friends. Really try to avoid repeating any of the not so good things.

Other than that be natural, kind, honest, playful and always approachable to the new generation you’ve created – even when you’re dog tired after a day at work.

–Mike Prince, Manchester England.
TV Presenter, Producer,
Father of 5, 4 of whom are quadruplets.