If your kids are anything like mine, they’re curious. They follow my wife and I around the house, even into the bathroom, always wanting to know what we are doing, what something is called, or why we do what we do.
As they observe us, they’ll occasionally say surprising things that strike your attention that you’ll never forget, because it’s useful advice. Here are three things in particular I’ve taken to heart.
“Be Awesome, Dad!”
Isaac, my tall, brown-haired, Batman-loving 4-year-old, is who I’m talking about. As he watched me put away a playpen my niece slept in, I struggled to get the sides to fold down, and he said, “Dad, what’s wrong? Be awesome!”
At first, I thought it was a weird and random thing to say in this situation, but then got a smiling smirk on my face from hearing his advice.
A few seconds later, I had the playpen folded and placed it into the bag. “Good job, Dad,” Isaac said.
Where did this kid come from? How did he suddenly give me fatherly words of encouragement and compliment me right afterward? I felt a sense of confidence come over me, even with something as simple as folding a playpen.
Ever since then, whenever I’m working on something at work or around the house, I remember his words, “Be awesome, Dad.”
I hope to make him as proud of me as I am of him.
“Don’t say no. Only say yes!”
Kids hate it when you tell them “no.”
- “No, you can’t have another string cheese.”
- “No, you need to pick up your toys right now.”
- “No, you have to go to bed.”
Lately, when we tell Isaac, “No,” to something he wants, he responds with “Don’t say no. Only say yes!”
Obviously, we can’t say yes to all his demands and requests, because then what kind of parents would we be?
I’ve learned to say yes to the important things like:
- “Dad, will you please play with me?” “Yes.”
- “Dad, can we go outside?” “Yes.”
- “Dad, will you wrestle with me?” “Yes.”
- “Dad, can we watch a Christmas movie?” “Yes.”
As dads, no matter how tired we feel after a long day at work or how busy we think we are having our faces buried in our phones, we have to make our kids know that we love them. And we make them know we love them with the gift of time.
There are many times when I think I am too tired to play, but say yes anyway, and after a few minutes, I am suddenly rejuvenated with a burst of energy I didn’t think I had. I end up having a great time and wearing my kid out in a tickle attack, but he loves every minute of it.
“Let me help you.”
Like I mentioned before, my kid is curious, always asking questions and wanting to know how the world works.
When I am working on a new home project, whether I’m patching some drywall or setting up a new IKEA dresser, my son is the first person by my side. “Dad, let me help you,” he says.
I love that about him. He loves to help. Even more so when tools are involved. If he helps me, it may take me longer to complete a project than if I were to do it myself, but I agree to it anyway. I’ll stick in the screw a bit, then hand him the screwdriver to let him fasten it up. Or, have him give me the next piece to install.
After we are all done, I give him a hug, thank him for helping me, and tell him what a great job he did.
He’s become my sidekick around the house. My grocery shopping buddy when my wife needs a break. My car wash and detailing partner. And it is so much fun.
Kids grow up so fast. Though I’ve tried teaching him all I know, his advice to me has taught me so much more. Listen to what your kids are saying. You might just learn something.
Photo credit: Getty Images