A child needs two parents who care about them and show up for them in all aspects of their lives. When we do that we let the small fry know that the world’s a safe place in the small moments of sitting next to them in church, cheering them on from a variety of sidelines or holding our children close when they’re not feeling well, inside or out.
It’s the biggest opportunity for an adult to be accountable and learn that very little of life is really about us at all. That’s a good thing.
But somehow in the mix of trying to figure out how we can lead more authentic lives a lot of us forgot about that axiom and started acting like our needs came ahead of everything else.
However, there’s no time like the present to try a contrary action.
Our children need balance in their lives just as much as we do and a new study released last week backs up that idea just in time for Father’s Day. A study out of Australia says that letting Dads roughhouse with their children improves their emotional health and rate of development.
It’s the balance between a mother’s nurturing hug and a father’s nurturing toss in the air. One tells us that there’s a safe place to return to and the other lets us know that the world can be a little rough but on the whole it’s a lot of fun. Don’t be afraid to get knocked around a little because what you learn will be worth it.
Another new study, this one by the Pew Research Center shows that in 2010, 27 percent of fathers now live away from their minor children. That’s two and a half times the rate from 1960 when it was only 11 percent. However, all dads are making more of an effort to be with their children, regardless of the living situation than they were in 1965 with time spent rising from just 2.6 hours per week to 6.5 hours by the year 2000. It’s a start.
Unfortunately, there’s still a whopping 27 percent that don’t see their children at all in a given year, which has been shown to have a profound impact on the way children see themselves.
If that’s you this is the year to change that storyline and make a date with your kids.
Perfection as a parent is not required, not possible and teaches the wrong lesson. Teach your children that being a great member of a family and a community means showing up and doing the best you can while believing in something bigger.
That’s also where all of that roughhousing can really pay off.
Every kid is born with some kind of passion brewing inside of them to be a fireman or a teacher or a web developer or a pharmacist. But that journey is going to be filled with some obstacles, blessings, good news and a variety of grinding frustrations. There may even be some really painful moments where our offspring wonder if maybe they were wrong all along.
But this is the moment where all of that hanging around with our kids pays off.
Our children call to tell us what they’re thinking because they know us and trust that we see the best in them. In that small magical window we get the chance to remind them of all the good we still see in them and push them back out into the world to try again. Then, they see it’s not the end of some tragic tale but a part of a really great journey.
Here’s to all of the Dads who’ve been there all along rolling around with their kids, brushing them off and telling them to go get back in the game and listening to the long tearful tale of why some guy didn’t call. Thank you for all of those small moments that meant so much.