OPINION — Are you a male between the ages of 1 and 110? Well then, this is for you.
I know this “advice” might seem a little/really questionable coming from me – a 20-something female who doesn’t have any children.
BUT everything I learned about this topic was through years of discreetly watching and taking notes from an expert; someone I’m proud to call my dad.
He did all the things that dads do – taught me how to ride a bike, parallel park, coached me in sports, baked (sometimes burnt) chocolate chip cookies, hand-washed my car every single Saturday, counseled me to always “knock ’em dead,” and sat front and center at every major event in my life.
My dad is a talented drummer in a band (at age 65); a successful small business owner; a proud father of six; and a happy husband of over 40 years.
My dad is the best dad. Ever. But it has nothing to do with anything I mentioned above. It has everything to do with all the things he never had to teach me. He just showed me instead.
He may not realize it, but the truth is – hardly anything he did ever went unnoticed. Every simple rule he followed made every bit of difference in the rest of my life.
If you ask him for advice, he’ll likely say, “Stick with Rick.” But if you ask me, I’ll tell you everything he doesn’t know he taught me. I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing some his parenting secrets.
Keep your promises
There will be a lot of people who let your kid down. Don’t be one of them.
Carry them to bed even when you know they are fake sleeping. (This was me. Every night.) Carry them on your shoulders even when they are getting too big. You’ll miss it someday soon enough. Promise.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
They are going to spill their drink when you take them to a fancy restaurant. They are going to break expensive items in the shop that you’ll end up having to purchase. They’ll make plenty of little, inconvenient mistakes. And that’s okay. Make sure they know that.
Show them how to live
You may not realize it, but they are carefully watching every move you make. Make your footsteps worth following.
Make them believe in magic
Teach them to have big imaginations and creative minds. The world needs more people who believe they can do impossible things, not less.
Celebrate every victory
Every rock they successfully stumble over can be a critical stepping stone. Be their biggest fan. Every step of the way.
Life is short and unpredictable. Don’t waste too many seconds of it being upset about something you can’t change. Change your heart instead. Remember, they’re watching.
Let them be themselves
Let them grow into the person that they are, not who you want them to be. It’s one of the hardest but greatest gifts you can give.
Show them there is good in the world
The world can be a scary place. Be the good. You may not change the whole world, but you can certainly change theirs. Do.
Act your wage
Don’t teach them about all the things they don’t need. Teach them about the things that no amount of money can buy.
Keep it real
Your job is to prepare your kids for real life. Don’t sugarcoat it. You have to be real about real things. They are going to need someone to show them the world. That might as well be you.
Be proud of your kids
Tell them often.
Love your spouse
Show them what love is, not what it isn’t.
Not just for the big things. Be there for the good, bad, ugly, terrible, delightful, boring, ordinary, normal, everyday kind of things. They are going to need you. Always.
Believe in their dreams
Believe in them even when they don’t believe in themselves. Their dreams will likely become even bigger if you do.
Make home the safest place to hide
They will come and go. Just make sure they know can always come back. No matter what.
Let them go.
When the time is right, let them go into the world and do wonderful things. Trust they’ll eventually find their wings and learn to fly.
After all, you taught them how.
I love you, dad. Happy Father’s Day.
- Missing your dad? Adopt a dad for a day, Father’s Day
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Ali Hill is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are her own, are not influenced through any advertising agreements with St. George News, and are not representative of St. George News.
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