Category: Fathers

You Can Improve Your Parent-Child Relationships

What Is Really Important?

Here’s a true story. A father was painting the outside of his home. His five-year-old son wanted to help. So this good father gave his son an old shirt with the sleeves rolled up several times. They both went to work on the door, dad painting the top and son painting the bottom. It just happened to be the door to the main entrance.

Now because of his age and size, the young boy wasn’t able to spread the paint evenly and consequently, the paint was beading up. That certainly wasn’t how the father envisioned his front door. So each time the five-year-old bent down to get more paint the father would hastily smooth out the paint on the bottom panel. It couldn’t do any harm, the boy didn’t know what was happening and the door sure would look better.

Well, father and son painted in silence for a time, the boy doing his best and the father smoothing it out. As the father thought about the situation and his redoing of his son’s work he decided that working with his son trumped a first-class paint job. He realized that his son was doing a mighty fine job for a five-year-old. The relationship that was being forged over the painting of a door was more significant than the appearance of the door. He stopped smoothing out his son’s work.

Ever after that when the father approached the front door and saw its distinctive style of decoration he was reminded of what is really important.

The father of this five-year-old boy spoke about his experience, with his own father. His father had a workshop in which he made wonderful things. His son said, “I would wander into this workshop and watch him. Just to be in his presence was a thrill for me. He invited me to help him by passing a hammer, a screwdriver, or some other tool. I was convinced that my help was necessary and that without me he would not be able to complete his task.

As I look back and reflect upon those wonderful memories, I realize that my contribution was not necessary for my father to complete the work he was engaged in. I was the beneficiary, as through these experiences I came to know him and to love him. I came to know about a Fathers Role In Parenting .”  We All Have a Father in Whom We Can Trust, Ensign, May 1994, p. 30

Sometimes parents can care too much about the outcome and too little about the relationship. When we take time to be present with our children we give them the opportunity to know and love us. We give them a gift. And they, in turn, return that gift by loving us back. It is the best use of our time because the relationship that develops is the thing of greatest significance.

A Tip To Improve Parent-Child Relationships

Here’s a true story.

A father was painting the outside of his home. His five-year-old son wanted to help. So this good father gave his son an old shirt with the sleeves rolled up several times. They both went to work on the door, dad painting the top and son painting the bottom. It just happened to be the main entrance.

Now because of his age and size, the young boy wasn’t able to spread the paint evenly and consequently, the paint was beading up. That certainly wasn’t how the father envisioned his front door. So each time the five-year-old bent down to get more paint the father would hastily smooth out the paint on the bottom panel. It couldn’t do any harm, the boy didn’t know what was happening and the door sure would look better.

Well, father and son painted in silence for a time, the boy doing his best and the father smoothing it out. As the father thought about the situation and his redoing of his son’s work he decided that working with his son trumped a first-class paint job. He realized that his son was doing a mighty fine job for a five-year-old. The relationship that was being forged over the painting of a door was more significant to the father than the appearance of the door. He stopped smoothing out his son’s work.

Ever after that when the father approached the front door and saw its distinctive style of decoration he was reminded of what is really important.

The father of this five-year-old boy spoke about his own experiences with his father. His father had a workshop in which he made wonderful things. The son said, “I would wander into this workshop and watch him. Just to be in his presence was a thrill for me. He invited me to help him by passing a hammer, a screwdriver, or some other tool. I was convinced that my help was necessary and that without me he would not be able to complete his task.

As I look back and reflect upon those wonderful memories, I realize that my contribution was not necessary for my father to complete the work he was engaged in. I was the beneficiary, as through these experiences I came to know him and to love him. I came to know about a Fathers Role In Parenting .” We All Have a Father in Whom We Can Trust”, Ensign, May 1994, 30

Relationship vs Outcome

Sometimes parents care too much about the outcome and too little about the relationship. When we take time to be present with our children we give them the opportunity to know and love us. We give them a gift. And they return that gift by loving us back. It’s the best use of our time because the relationship that develops is the thing of greatest significance.

When you are older and they have gone from home, you will be glad that you spent the bulk of your time on forging relationships rather than on the outcome of the myriad projects parents need to do.

A Toilet and Self-care

The bathroom crashers – Ashley, Elizabeth, Aubrey

Recently, my daughter shared this story with me.

I was sitting on the toilet. In front of me were my three small girls.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m going to the bathroom.”
“Are you almost done?”
“No, I just got in here.”
“Well, how long will it take?”
“As long as it takes. Now go out. I need some privacy.”
“But we need you.”
“I’ll hurry, now go out.”
“But mom, why can’t we stay.”
“Because I need some privacy!”
“We won’t talk.”
“GET OUT!”

I’ll bet your laughing. And I also bet that many of you have had a similar experience. It seems to come with the territory called parenting and it can wear us pretty thin at times. That’s why taking care of ourselves on a consistent basis is critical.

WHY WE SHOULD TAKE CARE OF SELF

There are some really good reasons to take care of ourselves when we’re in the thick of parenting:

• Facilitates greater patience
• We are less likely to take our frustrations out on our children.
• We’re able to process our emotions in more adult ways than yelling, spanking, etc.
• We remain freer of resentment which allows us to see what is really happening in tough situations
• We experience less exhaustion
• We avoid feeling depleted and are instead energized
• It helps us tune in to the joy of having children even on busy or chaotic days
• It gives us the mental resilience to remain Present with our children more often
• We will actually remain physically healthier
• We will feel happier and more fulfilled

Often, when we find small moments of time for ourselves to recharge there is a sense of guilt but caring for yourself is a key to caring for your family better. Self-care is an investment in our family relationships, rather than a selfish indulgence.

WHY WE DON’T TAKE CARE OF SELF

There are a number of reasons that both mothers and fathers neglect their own self-care:

• No time
• You don’t know what daily self-care looks or feels like
• You feel that it needs to be away from home, doing something special, for it to count

Let’s take a look at each of these excuses for neglecting ourselves.

 

A. No time
This is the same excuse we use for not being Present with our children. But as in the case of being Present, it can take as little as 30 seconds to 5 minutes.

1. Deep breathing
It only takes 30 seconds to take 3-4 good long deep breathes. There is ample research that backs up the claim that breathing deeply is good for us. A few deep breaths:

• Relieve stress
• Helps a feeling of calm return
• Allows us to process emotion more quickly
• Slows a rapid heartbeat
• Drops blood pressure

2. Read
Go to the bathroom and lock the door. While you are in their read 1-3 paragraphs in a book you keep by the toilet just for this purpose. It takes less than 3 minutes to read a few paragraphs. I use this technique daily. Sometimes it’s the only self-care (except for my shower) I get and it helps me feel cared for on even the busiest days. You will be surprised at how many books you can actually read in a year this way!

3. Take a shower
A restful shower in the morning or evening can take as little as 10 minutes. I take one daily for the express purpose of letting myself know I am cared for. You probably take a shower to wake up or get clean. By changing that story I can promise you that your shower will begin to feel quite different and you will feel cared for. I have been doing this daily for over fifty years now and it’s one of the daily events I look forward to the most!

4. Sit down
Just stopping and sitting down for 1-3 minutes, even if children are with you, can feel like self-care if that is the story you tell yourself for sitting down. I also use this technique every day and when I sit down for this short rest I smile because I know it’s a tool for self-care and not just my bum in the chair. : )

I’ll bet you can come up with at least 3-4 ways that you can take care of yourself in under 5 minutes that can be repeated a few times each day. I would LOVE to have you share them in the comments.

B. You don’t know what daily self-care looks or feels like
At some point, I had to make a conscious decision to figure out what I could do that would feel like I was taking care of myself. So I paid attention to my days and began making a list. You know what is on my list – a shower, reading in the bathroom, sitting down on purpose for no other reason than self-care, and deep breathing.

Take the time to make a mental list. What would work for you? For one of my friends, it’s sneaking a piece of licorice out of her secret stash a couple of times a day. It always makes her smile and she feels like a kid again.

Another friend makes a cup of herb tea and then sips it as she passes the counter during the day. Yes, it gets cold but every sip tells her mind – you matter and I am taking care of you!

Another suggestion is to smile. When you want to yell or spank or run choose to smile. It may sound impossible when you’re stressed out by the 3rd cup of spilled milk or by your 2-year-old who is going to see how long he can scream; but there is magic in a smile, even if it’s forced.

Forced smiles also increase positive feelings. When a situation has you feeling stressed or flustered, or overly tired even the most forced of smiles can genuinely make you feel happier.

My mother walks out to check on the chickens. It takes only 5 minutes and she repeats it a number of times a day. She loves her yard and her chickens and rain or shine, summer or winter she takes these small breaks.

So take the time this next week to make your mental list and then implement with the express purpose of telling your mind and body – I love you. I’m taking care of you!

I promise that it will feel like self-care no matter how simple it is.

C. You feel that it needs to be away from home, doing something special, for it to count
Remember that consistent actions are what are required for self-care to impact your daily walk as a parent. If you have to leave home or do something special then self-care will be spotty at best. Even if you are one of those lucky couples who go on a date every week it is still not consistent enough. In order to impact your ability to parent at your best then self-care has to happen daily, in fact, a few times daily.

The need to leave home and do something special is a story you tell yourself. Our stories are powerful. All that is required is that you rewrite your story about self-care. If you need to, write out a simple one statement declaration about your new self-care story. Then repeat it to yourself every time you take one of your new actions.

EXAMPLE – I care for myself when I shower, sit down, read in the bathroom or breathe deeply.

Getting away is wonderful, as is doing something special. But if we truly want to have greater satisfaction in our parenting lives then we have to learn to care for ourselves every day, in fact, a few times every day.

You’re going to spend far more time with your children than you’re going to spend without them, so it’s imperative to learn how to self-care while you’re in the thick of parenting. It’s simple, it’s doable, and it takes small amounts of time and virtually no money; but it can and will pay huge dividends. Nurturing yourself while you’re doing your job of parenting is going to help you be in a place mentally where you can and will be Present more often.

Happy Father’s Day – PART III – The Glen Morshower Interview Articles

The TEAM KISS

This is part III of an interview that I had with Glen Morshower in 2011. Missed Part 1 or Part II?

This final Morshower article deals with the third question I asked Glenn –

What is the most powerful experience you have had with your children?

 

Glen – The years that my children were teens were really powerful, helping them with first loves and breakups. My children felt at ease with their parents and we would take cheerful walks and talk.

In our family we had a motto of sorts – you can share everything that you are comfortable sharing (which is to say, that you don’t have to share anything you don’t want to). The door was wide open no matter what it was they felt, said or did.

We created a safe place to fall. We were a safety net for our children and they used that net lots of times. Our children knew “You are gonna be loved here!”

Mary Ann – After Glen shared this with me he said, “I am going to tell you something I have never told anyone else. I have never said this in an interview before. This is about my greatest pain and the Team Kiss”. What he shared was so beautiful and I feel privileged to share it with you.

Glen – I felt that this idea was a whisper from God, the Team Kiss. My children are grown and we still do the Team Kiss. Let me tell you the history of how it came to be.

My mom and dad divorced when I was three. My mother remarried when I was six and my stepfather wanted to control everything, including my relationships. He was determined to break me through physical abuse. That was hard but not my greatest pain.

I felt even more pain in knowing that I had never seen my birth parents together being kind to each other. I only saw them together in the same room three times in my life after age 3, at the funeral of a grandparent, my wedding, and my brother’s wedding. Then they would stand 30 feet apart. I could be with one but not both, even in the same room. It was painful.

But even that wasn’t my greatest pain. My stepfather was determined that I would never be allowed to see my father. I had absolutely no access to my dad. I knew he loved me and I loved him but I was forbidden to see him until after I turned eighteen and that was enforced by physical means.

Early on I had a wonderful fantasy that when my stepfather died I would have the experience, for the first time, of sitting at a simple dinner with both of my parents and my brother, the original nucleus, telling the three of them that I loved them. I had no delusions about them ever getting back together. I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I just wanted the two people who created me to be kind to each other.

In later years my mother and father began to be civil to each other, they began to heal. However, my stepfather was a wedge in healing that relationship. My stepfather died in May of 2005 but just a short time before that my real dad died. I never got to have my fantasy fulfilled.

However, it was this fantasy and that whisper from God that created the Team Kiss.

Here’s how it works. Both parents kiss a cheek of their child at the same time. It’s a double kiss. To this day it is my children’s favorite kiss.

The Team Kiss is a reassurance. The two people who love you and made you have their lips on your cheeks at the same time. A child can breathe in both parents simultaneously. No matter what is happening out there in the world they are reassured that these two people love them.
Mary Ann – I hope you have enjoyed Glen’s words and wisdom as much as I have. I loved talking to him.

Let’s remember the most important things Glenn has shared.

• Everyone who crosses your path is there to help you
• Give your children unconditional and powerful love and affection
• Be gentle
• Listen to your children
• Give children the freedom to learn and love them through the process
• Don’t try to control the outcome
• This is a choice/consequence world
• And most importantly “Do unto others as you would have the world do unto you!”

Thank you Glenn Morshower for your honest and heartfelt words of wisdom!

Missed Part 1 or Part 2?

Glenn Morshower is regarded as one of the busiest character actors in Hollywood. Best known for his role as Aaron Pierce on the FOX hit series 24, Glenn has a hugely successful acting career spanning 35 years. He and his high school sweetheart Carolyn married in 1978 and have two grown children.
“The Extra Mile” is a series of performances which are written and performed by Glenn Morshower. The program is a combination of motivational speaking, storytelling, dramatic and comedic performance, acting instruction, and life coaching. Thousands, including a good number of celebrities, have attended these events across the US. You can learn more about it here.

Share Glen’s thoughts and experiences with those you love by clicking the links below.

In Honor of Fathers – PART II – The Glen Morshower Interview Articles

 

 

I hope you took the opportunity of reading Part One of the Glenn Morshower Interview articles. If you missed it you can view it HERE.

Today’s article deals with the second question I asked Glenn –

What is the best thing that you did for your children as a parent?

 

Glenn – Things occur for a reason, even bad things. I am not saying that what I am going to tell you is the TOP reason bad things occur but I surely think it falls in the top 3 – clarification.

When bad things happen we are forced to go where we don’t want to go and in being there we know we don’t belong. We have clarification!

This knowledge helps us make more healthy choices because we know we don’t belong in this difficult place. We want to change it. So we begin to make changes; not at microwave speed but in small increments.

The changes I made were:

• To give my children unconditional and powerful love and affection. We openly displayed affection in our home. We did a lot of hugging and kissing.
• I listened to them all the time.
• I gave them the freedom to learn and loved them through the process.
• I was gentle.
• I taught them to make consequence based choices.
• Most of all I gave them TONS of fun. Now that they are grown-ups I still give them tons of fun. I still play with them. They think their dad is a nut.

I think God has encouraged me to make a change in the Golden Rule. I say this with all reverence. The whisper said, “You know there is something in you that knows the Golden Rule can be improved.”

Because of this knowingness, I have reframed that rule from “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” to “Do unto others as you would have life do unto you.”

Can you see the difference? In the first rule, you don’t have to be kind to the waitress in Nome, Alaska that you will never see again. In another scenario, you may be kind and the other person isn’t kind in return. They may even be hurtful.

But in this new way of stating the rule you do what is right because you understand that life will give back to you what you give out. You are kind to the waitress and the unkind stranger because life will give kindness, consideration, and gentleness back to you. If you treat everyone with love and respect life will give you love and respect. If you give your resources freely life will give resources freely back to you.

The BEST thing I gave to my children was to treat them as I wanted life to treat me!

 

Don’t miss part III next week. Glen shares something with me he said he had never shared in an interview before. It is powerful and you won’t want to miss it!

Glenn and Carolyn Morshower – Married 40 years

Glenn Morshower is regarded as one of the busiest character actors in Hollywood. Best known for his role as Aaron Pierce on the FOX hit series 24, Glenn has a hugely successful acting career spanning 35 years. Frequently seen in roles of authority, he has appeared in over 160 film and television projects including:
The Men Who Stare at Goats, Good Night and Good Luck, Black Hawk Down, Air Force One, Hostage, Under Siege, All the King’s Men, Pearl Harbor, Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Transformers 3, with running roles on CSI, The West Wing, and Friday Night Lights.

The Extra Mile” is a series of performances which are written and performed by Glenn Morshower. The program is a combination of motivational speaking, storytelling, dramatic and comedic performance, acting instruction, and life coaching. Thousands, including a good number of celebrities, have attended these events across the US.

In Honor of Fathers – The Glen Morshower Interview Articles

In 2011 I had the extraordinary opportunity to interview Glen Morshower – Agent Aaron Pierce, from the Fox hit “24.    I had attended an event he spoke at and I was riveted by his humor, wisdom and pure joy in living. So I plucked up my courage and asked him for an interview that I could share with the mothers and fathers I work with. He said he would be glad to and gave me his phone number. I never called.

I thought about calling often. I would look at his card, smile in remembrance of his exuberance and then put the card down.

Finally, one day as I thought about tossing the card in the trash, I plucked up my courage again and called. I left a message on his machine reminding him who I was and what I wanted. I didn’t expect a call back. He’s famous after all and a busy man.

The phone rang a short time later. Imagine my surprise to hear “Hi Mary, its Glenn.” It took me a moment to figure out Glenn who. “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe you called me back.” And that was how the following delightful hour began.

Glenn is an amazing individual. He has a zest for life that’s infectious. He was fun to talk with and I had to write fast and furiously. (I do not know shorthand) I made every effort to gather as much as I could to share with you. Over the next few weeks I will be sharing what I learned. I know you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Mary Ann – Is there anything from your parenting which you regret?

Glenn – “I can honestly say that I loved it all! It has been the best role I have ever played. Now that my children are grown I miss holding them and tucking them in.

Here’s why I have no regrets in my parenting.

I grew up in a painful situation. My parents divorced when I was three and my step father was physically abusive. I learned early on that there is a purpose to the gifts we are given in life, even those experiences that are painful and are rarely viewed as gifts. My experiences were a gift and taught me character and gave me something to transcend.

I developed an awareness about life that I consider heaven’s gift to me. I became wide awake. I learned compassion and gained understanding and those are the things that I brought to my parenting.

I frequently tell audiences that moaning about a painful past is not helpful and in fact counterproductive. You need to re-frame that past. That can be done by realizing that everyone who crosses your path is there to help you even when it is obvious that it’s not what they intend.

There are two things that those who cross our path can give to us.

• There are those give us a clear road map of how to live our life. They model excellent behavior and we should embrace the experience.
• There are those who will clearly model how not to live life, how not to be. They give us an equally powerful road map of what not to do to others.

My stepfather fell into the second category. Because of his powerful example:

• I never raised a hand to my children.
• I didn’t try to control the outcome.
• I concentrated on teaching them that this is a choice/consequence driven world. What are the consequences you want to inherit? Instead of choosing what you want, choose instead the consequences you want. Make consequence based choices. This leads to a healthier, happier life.

As adults we need to be careful not to use “victim speak”. Making excuses for our bad behavior or blaming another person for our bad behavior is a weak way to pardon that behavior. Take the responsibility of making a course correction in your family tree.”

The first thing I learned from Glenn –

Glenn understood a form a pain that he deliberately chose not to dish out to his children. He chose love and tenderness which he found effortlessly flowed to his children because he decided to give them what he had always wanted but never had. He made a decision.

The most poignant portion of his answer to the question I had asked was this: In giving what he had desperately wanted he found personal healing.

And isn’t that what we all really know is true – that what we give we get back in abundance. Glenn gave love instead of hurt.

Next week Glen shares what he felt was the best thing he did for his children. Be sure and join me because it is tremendous.

Glenn Morshower is regarded as one of the busiest character actors in Hollywood. Best known for his role as Aaron Pierce on the FOX hit series 24, Glenn has a hugely successful acting career spanning 35 years. He and his high school sweetheart Carolyn married in 1978 and have two grown children.

“The Extra Mile” is a series of performances which are written and performed by Glenn Morshower. The program is a combination of motivational speaking, story telling, dramatic and comedic performance, acting instruction, and life coaching. Thousands, including a good number of celebrities, have attended these events across the US. You can learn more about it here.

Why not share Glenn Morshower and his joy in life by clicking on the buttons below.

Balancing family and work time for fathers

The Hendrikson’s – Oaklan, Salem, Darrell

In 2011 I asked a number of fathers to speak on different aspects of fathers and family.  I am reprinting them one at a time for Father’s Day 2018. Enjoy!

My wife and I own an older home that we have been remodeling one room at a time.  A few years ago, in early spring, we decided that it was time to remodel the long-neglected front porch.  Knowing that I would only be able to work on it during the warm months, I planned to work on it every Saturday from sun up to sun down, trying to beat the deadline of autumn weather.  As a father of three, I have always tried to be conscious of, and involved with spending quality time with my children.  To this end, I determined that in order to complete the porch by autumn I would need to devote each Saturday in its entirety to remodeling work, which would allow me to dedicate weekday evenings to my children.

As the weeks passed and the project dragged on I became increasingly concerned that I wasn’t going to get the job done before the summer ended.  If the porch wasn’t painted in time, the wet and cold winter was going to cause extensive damage to the newly installed wood porch.  Notwithstanding my supposed balance between home remodeler and devoted father, I found myself more and more answering my sons’ requests for my attention with, “Not now, son, I’m really busy”, or “I will as soon as I’m finished nailing these planks”.

I remember going to bed very late one Saturday night, having once again missed our nightly family ritual of brushing teeth, reading a bedtime book, reading scriptures, singing and praying together, and tucking the children into bed with kisses and hugs.  This nightly ritual had long since become a cornerstone in our family traditions, and I felt awful that I had missed it again.  In my mind’s eye, I saw them with a sad expression on their face asking my wife, “Where’s Dad”?  This, coupled with my increased frequency of choosing work over my sons, had me downright depressed.

I felt like an absent father, and the last thing I wanted was for my children to have even a hint of a feeling that they wished I was with them more.  They are the most important thing in my life- I knew it, but I didn’t know that if they knew it.

I could have said “I’m doing this work for you” all I wanted, but if they didn’t feel like I was available for them, all my work would’ve been meaningless.  What good is a fancy remodeled house if all it’s good for is a place for a disconnected family to eat and sleep?  A house is a house no matter how old the carpet or the color of a paint.  What I wanted was a home- the kind that comes from absolute family unity and love.  As ‘head of the home’, I knew it had to start with me.

That very minute I committed that my new rule was to never be “too busy”.  Whenever my children come and ask me to read them a book or push them on the swing, or whatever– I say, “Yes”!  When I put down what I’m doing right then and there, I immediately let them know by my actions that they can approach me.  When we’re finished I invite them to now come help me.  Regardless of age or capacity, there are four distinct fruits of this conscious effort to be more present in my children’s lives;

1)                  My children know that they are paramount in my life

2)                  I now have a direct opportunity to teach my children how to play and work

3)                  My children and I, and therefore the entire family, are closer to each other

4)                  Spending time with my children is FUN!!

When I ask my children to help me with a work project, they react as though I told them we were going to Disneyland.  They are so excited to spend time with me- they love just being around me.  But rather than simply being in close physical proximity to each other, parents must take advantage of this opportunity by consciously engaging with their children.  We need to ask them about things happening in their lives that are important to them.  We need to take the time to teach them about the world around them- these are the moments that combine to form a child’s character.  The word parent is a noun, but too often we fail to seize the opportunity to use it as a verb- actively rearing them by loving, guiding, teaching, and showing them the way.

The Hendriksen Family – 2018

I don’t believe my children had really regarded me as ‘too busy’, but I had- and that was enough to cause a problem.  This feeling has long since dissolved, and I now revel in the opportunity to genuinely rear them, not just provide a place for them to live. Initially, I feared that my remodeling progress would slow, but it hasn’t.  In fact, it has increased because my children are a bit older now and are confidently learning these skills for themselves.

It is so important that we consciously schedule time with our children, just as we would any other appointment or meeting.  If we want our children to know we love them, we must show them by giving them our time and affection.  We must also tell them we love them.  Life is full of things to do, but our children deserve more than to be regarded as a task or burden.  Since our children are our most important responsibility, let them be at the heart of our lives. Let us regard everything we need to do in life as an opportunity and a venue for accomplishing this, the most important position in our lives- that of a parent.  If you want to know what they’re thinking-ask them.  If you want them to become something- teach them. Do not assume they know you love them- tell them.  Show them.

Darrell Hendriksen lives in Salt Lake City with his wife Heather, their three boys and two daughters.  He enjoys running, hiking, camping, gardening, making music, and doing handyman work- none of which would mean much without his wonderful family by his side.

A Fathers Role In Parenting

Father’s Day is coming so I am going to dedicate this space to fathers for a few weeks. : )

When my grandson Jack, was two years old, he copied everything his dad did. At that time Jack had a small pink doll stroller. Actually, it belonged to his then four-year-old sister Maggie but Jack confiscated it. He needed it for his work – his “daddy” work. When Doug mowed the lawn Jack was following right behind with his pink stroller “mowing machine.” He pulled an imaginary cord and away he went following his dad’s every footstep, walking with his dad’s swagger as perfectly as he could match it on his small stubby legs.

One day Doug was cleaning out the garage. Jack, of course, was right there helping. His father was sweating profusely with heat and exertion. Doug was wiping his brow to clear his eyes. Jack looked for a long time at his dad and his dripping face. Then he walked over to the dog dish, put his face in the water and turned to his dad and said “we’re sweaty” and then wiped his head.

Jack is now ten and has a six-year-old brother, Ben. Another son-in-law, Brady has a two-year-old son, Elliot. And my son-in-law Kash, has a stepson, ten-year-old-Parker. These boys love their dad’s. They want and need to be with their dad’s. They watch their dad’s and they copy them. Being a parent is one of the most influential roles you will ever have, whether you are a mother or father.

Sometimes fathers have a difficult time being involved with their children after a long day at work, caring for one of their primary stewardships – providing for their family. Because of the dilemma of work and family, too often “parenthood” becomes simply “motherhood.” Professional research has found that a child’s intellectual, emotional, and social development, masculinity and femininity, even the ability to function effectively in a future marriage, appear to be influenced by the father’s personal relationship with the child and with the child’s mother; dad’s need to be involved with their children, because, Fathers do matter. They matter to their son’s and to their daughters.

FATHERS DO MATTER

As with all important responsibilities, to be successful with our children requires making them an important priority. One of the most important gifts a father can give is a small portion of his time.
Richard L. Evans said: “In all things, there is a priority of importance … and one of our urgent opportunities is to respond to a child when he earnestly asks remembering they don’t always ask, that they aren’t always teachable, that they won’t always listen. And often we have to take them on their terms and at their times. But if we respond to them with sincere attention and sincere concern they will likely continue to come to us and ask. And if they find they can trust us with their trivial questions, they may later trust us with the more weighty ones.” (The Spoken Word, KSL broadcast, 31 Jan. 1970.)

In order to respond at the time of need, a parent, a father, has to be present, in body, mind, and heart!
When over two thousand children of all ages and backgrounds were asked, “What makes a wonderful father?” the essence of their replies was, “He takes time for me.” One of the misconceptions about this is that taking time means a lot of time. Actually what really matters is small amounts of time, consistently given.

I’ll never forget the day that a dad of multiple children came up to me after a workshop I was giving on becoming a more present parent. He had tears in his eyes. He was weeping because as he said, “I have always wanted to be more connected with my kids but I work so many hours that I just couldn’t see how. Now I see that it’s possible!”

BE PRESENT BY USING DAILY TOUCHPOINTS

There are opportunities to connect with your children every day, dad. Here are four of the Touchpoints that happen in almost every family daily and you can use them to connect. They usually take 15 minutes or less and some as little as 3 minutes. If you want a deeper explanation of how to use them effectively on a tight time budget request the free chapter on Touchpoints from the book Becoming a Present Parent: How to connect with your children in five minutes or less, which will not only detail how you can make these four Touchpoints work for you and your children but will give you four more.

• Mealtime
• Bedtime
• Transitions
• Chores/family work

Dad, no matter how hectic your life is you can be present every day and increase the quality of your family relationships.