The other day I was driving Lily over to her cousins’ house to spend the day playing. While we were driving, I decided to make small talk with three-year-old Lily and so I asked her about her day, her interests, etc. Then I asked her, “What can I do to be a better daddy?” She thought for a moment and responded sweetly, “I wike the way how you are daddy.” That warmed my heart.
I do know, however, that there are several ways that I can be a better daddy, and I’ve resolved to work harder at each of them. Here’s what I’ve decided:
Spend time playing with my children. I get bored easily and often don’t have the patience to just sit down and play with the children. But it’s important to them for me to be fully invested in our time together, not distracted by some email that I need to check or some unfinished video project. I’m trying to spend an hour a day with the kids doing something that THEY are interested in doing. It doesn’t always happen, but the fact that I’m thinking about it and making it a priority will make a big difference.
Help my children learn the value of hard work. I really want to teach the a good work ethic. My mom gave me a couple of useful articles on the subject and I’m trying to implement some of the good ideas there. It’s a challenge, but well worth it for their long-term success. More on this in another post.
Do individual dates with my children weekly. My dad did this for a while and it’s one of the happiest memories I have of my early childhood. I can honestly say that my children adore the time they spend one-on-one with me. It usually involves an outing, such as a trip to the temple grounds, Nicklecade, the McDonald’s playground, Costco or whatever. It also generally involves a treat. (McDonald’s has 25 cent kiddie cones that are a great way to go when you’re on a budget!) I have four children, so one date with one child per week, and we cycle through the family in about a month. (Of course, dates with baby James probably won’t be happening for a while.) Giving the children something to look forward to is really fun. The key is consistency.
Shout less and listen more. Enough said.