On father’s day weekend, we were all busy packing and moving stuff around the house, and we didn’t have much time or energy left to celebrate. (Poor papa, we’ll make it up to you okay?)
As I was lying in bed, catching my breath, and listening to sounds of the kids playing with daddy outside, I realised how blessed I was to be able to just lie there and not worry about whether the kids were looked after or entertained or not.
Thus the inspiration for this post.
Here is a list of 10 things I think kids need most from their dads.
1. Your undivided attention
Yes, even after a long day of work, even if you’re dead beat, it doesn’t matter. The kids will climb all over you, want to play with you, fight to have their turn at piggy-back rides, and basically want your full attention. For at least 10 minutes. If you’re obliging, they may then let you off and give you some breathing space afterwards. I know, kids are funny like that.
2. Big bear hugs and tickly kisses
What can I say? Dads are naturally great givers of physical affection, and children are good receivers, so everybody wins.
3. Love and affirmation through words and action
While it may be natural to show your love through physical touch, don’t forget to use words too. I’m sure by now you’ve noticed that your little girl basks and glows in your words of praise, and encouragement. Well-chosen and spoken words will not only help her understand her value as a unique person, it can also help her to grow in confidence. I believe the same goes for little boys.
Always affirm your child’s worth and individual strengths. This means you can also be honest about their weaknesses, and help them adopt pro-active mindsets to improve or come up with ideas to overcome their challenges.
4. Rough and tumble playtime
Roughhousing is another daddy specialty. It’s not only playtime for the kids, it also helps them to develop love and trust. I mean, a child wouldn’t allow you to do stunts like flying through the air unless he trusts that you won’t let him fall, right? Oh, and it makes good exercise for the kids too.
5. To be seen loving and hugging mum
Whenever kids see daddy showing love to mum, I believe they feel secure and loved too. Vera’s at the age where she’s more sensitive to people’s expressions and reactions, and she sometimes reminds daddy to hold my hand. And now that she knows there’s a baby growing within me, she would remind him to be gentle when hugging me too, which we all find rather endearing.
I understand different households work differently, and some fathers are not inclined to play the role of disciplinarian. But I do see the kids responding differently to the father’s chiding and discipline. Like there is a certain level of fear and reverence, which perhaps has to do with the father’s position of authority in the home. I believe dads play a key role in discipline and teaching, and it is most effective when both parents are in sync and able to back each other up.
“The objective of discipline is to help the child develop internal discipline–the capacity to make right choices even when there are influences to do otherwise.”
Your children may not ask for it, but I think prayer is something that’s essential to their growing up and learning about God. Simple short prayers that they can understand, and subsequently participate in, work best.
8. Strength in the face of challenges
When the children are older and able to understand the concept of worry or struggle, just be aware that they are watching and learning from how you cope with the challenges you’re facing. If you model for them attitudes of positivity and determination, you’re giving them life-tools that they can call upon later in life.
This quote says it all: “As a huge oak tree provides shelter and protection for all the living things that nest in its branch, a strong man provides security and comfort for every member of his family.” (James Dobson, Bringing Up Boys)
This is an obvious one. Need I say more?
And that makes my list of 10. What are the things that would make it into your list of 10?