“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair . . .”
If Charles Dickens had ever written a book on parenting, he would have been disappointed to have wasted this sentence on A Tale of Two Cities. Fatherhood is part amusement park, part vocation, and part mine-riddled battleground. It’s not a job for the weak, but it isn’t for those who are afraid to show weakness. It’s serious business, but it isn’t for those who take everything too seriously.
Here are five (not so little) things you can start doing today that will make a big impact tomorrow.
1. Say Yes More Often Than No
There are a million reasons to say no—and believe me, most kids know that “later” often means the same thing. Sadly, many of the reasons we say no aren’t very good. While there are tons of reasons why it’s easy to say no, many of life’s great memories are built on saying yes. So play that game, climb that tree, camp in the backyard, and go on that midnight run for ice-cream. Learn to see “Dad do you wanna” questions as opportunities rather than inconveniences—there’s plenty of time to be tired later.
2. Write Your Kids Physical Letters
The digital age has diminished the value of handwritten correspondence, but there aren’t many things more valuable than a letter (especially when the author is no longer with you.) A letter reveals the character of the writer in so many ways: in the content and penmanship, in the invested time and effort, and even in the imperfections. You may never write another letter to anyone else, but write to your kids.
On a side note, save handwritten notes for positive things. I know how easy it is with a teenager to grab a piece of paper when you’re frustrated and scrawl something terse and instructive, but that’s not always the best idea. As a general rule, if there is a remote chance they can take something you created and save it forever, make it something positive.
3. Play Outside
There are a million things you can do with your kids inside, but a lot of childhood’s real magic happens outside—be there when it does.
4. Let Them Help
Doing dishes? Changing a tire? Stacking wood? When your kids are little, they’re going to want to help you do everything. Let them. They’ll probably do a terrible job, and you may end up having to do it again, but the opportunities are golden. Doing mindless chores with my kids has been the doorway to some of the most important impromptu discussions we’ve ever had. Besides, it’s not going to be too long before it’ll take an act of Congress to get them to help.
5. Be a Good Model
Your kids won’t just build their picture of God on what you tell them; much of their childood will be spent creating an image of God based on what you show them. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to behave flawlessly. The two most important things you can model are consistent approachability and unconditional love. When your children know that they can come to you—even at their worst—they’ll be that much closer to understanding the accessibility and graciousness of their heavenly Father too.
Check out Vyrso today for tons of fantastic parenting advice and encouragement for Father’s Day.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it [...]