Although I’m a granddad, I still appreciate a good “kid fix” …
I was working from home, catching up on some phone calls and correspondence. I was focused and plugged in, getting important things done.
Then I heard the front door open upstairs, followed by that unmistakable pitter-patter sound of little feet. Kids don’t walk in a calm and relaxed way, right? They scamper and jump, especially when they’ve just arrived at Grandma’s house.
I knew who it was: my daughter and my two-year-old grandson. I noted their arrival, smiled, and went back to what was on my desk. Well, I tried to go back to work. But I just couldn’t focus.
So I gave in. I thought to myself, I don’t want to miss these moments. If you miss them, you can’t get them back.
I put my work aside for a few minutes and hurried upstairs for some fun with my little man. I held him and asked him some questions and spent probably ten minutes interacting with him. He’s getting older, so we’re forming a fun and unique relationship.
It was a great work break; there was no better way I could have spent that time. Even better, it reinforced the value of what I did when I went back downstairs.For all fathers, keeping time with our kids as a high priority helps us maintain a proper perspective on the time we do spend at work.
My youngest son is a teenager now, so there aren’t any “little feet” pitter-pattering around my home every day anymore. In many ways, I miss those days.
But what about you, dad?
I don’t know if you ever work from home or what your schedule is like. We’re all busy, whether it’s working or civic responsibilities or taking care of things around the house. And I want to be clear: Championship Fathering requires more of us than ten- or fifteen-minute breaks to hang out with our kids.
But there is great value in getting a “kid fix”—a short segment of fun and laughter when your work, your hobby, your tax-return, or the basketball game on TV stops because of the pitter-patter of little feet or a “Hey, Dad, do you wanna …?” Treat them as welcome interruptions! They remind us of what’s truly important, and those fun moments together build stronger relationships.
“Kid fixes,” even brief ones, also let your children know that work is not more important than they are. Do I need to say it? That’s vitally important.
And as I’m sure you know, fatherhood can be addicting.
Maybe you’ll start with bouts of “All-Star Wrestling” when you get home from work. But before you know it, you’ll be sneaking hugs before dinner, lingering at their bedside at night and uttering words of encouragement when they leave for school. And if you miss that opportunity to score a fix, you may have to resort to calling home in the middle of the day just to talk to your children. (And then, if it really gets out of hand, you’ll become a fatherhood pusher, like me.)
It’s true. Your children are precious and adorable creatures. I could go on and on about how they benefit from your loving, coaching, and modeling. They need you, and that should be enough motivation to be a good dad. But let me tell you, there are some incredible rewards for you as well. Plain and simple, being a good dad is a high like no other.
Go home tonight and get a healthy dose of your children. It may just change your life.
How do you handle interruptions from your kids? And what’s the most addicting aspect of fatherhood for you? Please share your comments below.
Action Points for how to make the most of those everyday opportunities as a dad
- Especially with young kids, expect them to interrupt you. Prepare yourself for that, and plan to respond with patience and calmness. (Certainly there are times when our children shouldn’t interrupt or disturb us, but we can still respond in a kind way.)
- If your job allows you to be at home during the day, keep a book or toy in your work area so your child knows they’re welcome there. If you’re like most dads and work away from home, make a habit of frequently leaving a small surprise for them at home and call home to engage them in finding it.
- Even when you feel irritable or tired, push through and invest a few minutes with your child—playing catch, reading picture books, taking a walk, or whatever. You may find that afterward, even though your body is still tired, somehow you’ll feel refreshed.
- What day-to-day opportunities to bond with your child might you be passing up? Think about his or her interests and daily schedule, and find opportunities to invest more of yourself.
- With older kids, the “pitter-patter” interruptions are often less obvious and less frequent. So be proactive about finding connection points—something they enjoy, and at a time of day that works for them, if necessary.
- Are you excited about the rewards of being a father? Tell other dads! Thank them for being there for their children, and encourage them to keep up the good work. (And please let them know we’re here to help.)
Carey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers who to make the Championship Fathering Commitment. NCF believes that every child needs a dad they can count on, and uses its resources to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need. Subscribe to his weekly email tip by clicking here: “Yes! I want tips on how to be a great dad who loves, coaches, mentors, and inspires my children.