The Moments That Real Fatherhood Are Made Of

legos2-by regan76-flickr

The simple moments are the ones that our kids crave the most, and they are also the moments that we dads live for.

The other night after dinner I found myself on the living room floor playing Lego with my children.

As I sat there with my daughters, all three eagerly vying for my attention with cries of ‘look what I made daddy’, it dawned on me that this was one of the most important moments of my entire fatherhood—a moment that would never be repeated, and that would definitely be with me, and probably them as well, for years and years to come.

These simple moments are the things that our kids crave from us the most, and if we’re honest they are also the moments that we dads live for most as well.

They are a welcome break from the monotony of our 9 to 5 routine (does anyone actually still do only a ’9 to 5′ anymore?), a welcome departure from the politics and pandering that can be so much a part of grown up living.

Our children just want to be with us, just as we are, warts and all, and they take such great delight in the simple little things, the very same things that we routinely overlook without a second glance in our “big people” dealings and machinations.

These moments are so vitally important because they remind us that joy isn’t found in the things we own, the positions we hold, or the size of our bank balance, instead some of the greatest and most memorable joys are found in the act of simply being with other people.

But the sad reality is that for many men living in the modern world they can also be the most elusive moments, and tragically for some men they will be little more than moments that their future selves will look back on with regret, precisely because they never actually took the time, when it was there for the taking, to be with their children playing Lego, or wrestling on the lounge floor, or building a fort out of couches and blankets.

But these are some of the most important moments of fatherhood, and they are the moments that separate the real men from the pretenders—the men who look, smell and outwardly exude masculine success, but on the inside they carry a childish fear of losing it all, and being left to face the reality that what they have is so much smoke and mirrors, while the guy lying on the living room floor with his kids is grounded in something real and lasting.

The window of opportunity to experience these moments with our kids is not a big one men, and it is an opportunity which passes us by all too quickly, and once that window is shut it can never be reopened.

My daughters are still young, and now that I have started embracing and actively seeking out these moments of simple joy I regret not having started this sooner. You see, real living, the kind that really matters, the kind which makes men into real men, and which will bring great reward to us and our families for years to come, that kind of living is found in those simple moments playing Lego with the kids on the living room floor after dinner.

This post originally appeared at The Leading Edge

Photo: regan76/Flickr

About Brendan Malone

Brendan Malone is a married father of four from New Zealand. He runs his own organisation called LifeNET, which focuses on leadership, values and ethical concern. As part of this work he regularly speaks to groups of men about the importance of living authentic masculinity. In the days after the devastating February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand he and a friend started a successful citizens' initiated earthquake relief effort that drew together thousands of volunteers and ended up suppling several hundred tons of food, water and other essential items to the hardest hit ares of the city via helicopters and road convoys. True to his Irish heritage, Brendan plays semi-regular Irish music gigs and boxes three nights a week for the fitness and challenge of it. Find Brendan blogging at The Leading Edge Blog, or on Twitter @LifeNETnz


  1. I wish my own father could have read this article and others back when I was a young boy…30+ years ago. When I turned 6, my second sister was born and I seriously felt like my father abandoned/ignored me. He never played anymore, never did things with me anymore, I taught myself how to ride a bike. So for all those fathers out there with children, and young children…BE THERE FOR THEM NOW! You don’t realise how important you really are to them.

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