The Ad Council has joined the fight to elevate fatherhood to the top of the to-do list for men with kids. The organization that led the charge to Buckle Up, Prevent AIDS, end domestic violence and many other Public Service campaigns has now, with this campaign featuring Matt Lauer, acknowledged that fatherhood is about more than just providing a house, but is also about making time to play with your kids. The ads script says it all: “the smallest moments can have the biggest impact on a child’s life. Take time to be a dad today.” Often, a spontaneous game of Hide-and-Seek means way more that the big fancy gestures that only happen every now and then.
Regardless of whether you’re a mom or a dad, everyone needs a little break, a little fun and a little love. Even if you think you’re too busy, make a deal with yourself and your kids that you’ll steal a few minutes for fun. In fact, even if you’re swamped, that can be a great lesson. Rather than saying “no” to a quick story or game, try, “Wow, I’m totally swamped, but you know what, I love you and a few minutes of fun with you might be just the fuel I need.” Play your quick game, then go back to work. It’s a great way to introduce the idea of balance and flexibility to your kids, while showing them that they are your priority and reinforcing that you still have to meet your responsibilities.
After all, as cheesy as it sounds, you’d rather be one of those parents about whom your kids say, “he was always there for me,” not “he was too busy to notice.” And you have at least 10 minutes here or there. If people can make that time to go have a smoke, you can take that time to go play with your kids. It’ll change their life, and yours.