Alright Dads – I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a general statement: if you’ve been to the movies in the last 10 years, you’ve probably seen a superhero movie.
Whether you’re a Marvel or a DC fan (my kids and grandkids are helping with this if you can’t tell…) we as the general public have been shown virtually every manner of superhero and antihero there is. Now while it’s a safe bet that none of you reading this can fly or turn invisible, I can tell you that each of you is actually a superhero to your kids – and you have a very special gift that could change the very trajectory of their life.
If this seems a little dramatic, stay with me. I talk often about how if Dads could see themselves through their children’s eyes they would be forever changed. Now, I know that many of you reading this may feel like you’re failing in your role, you’re scared of not providing enough for your family, you’re afraid you’re turning into your dad, or you feel so out of touch with what is going on with your kids that you’re scared to dive in. This blog is for you – because the special gift that I’m talking about is something each of you already possesses. And guess what? It’s simple.
Give them your intentional, undivided attention.
That’s it! You don’t have to be Superman to get this right! By getting down to their eye-level, talking with them, throwing the ball around in the backyard, taking them to the park, going to get ice cream, letting your daughter paint your nails…this simple gift of your focused time will ultimately shape them as they grow into adults.
Does this seem hard to achieve given your circumstances? I’ve got good news – there’s an element of magic to this particular gift and I’ve seen the evidence of it over the years in my practice. The time you spend with your kids is MAGNIFIED in their minds. It’s as if every interaction carries 10x the weight of importance! Let me give you an example:
I had one young patient tell me that her dad takes her out for a special day all the time. She gushed about the time they spent together and how much she loved it – when in reality, her mother explained that he had only taken her out one-on-one twice in the last 8 months.
The time you invest with your children has a far bigger impact on them than it does on you.
You don’t have to spend money or buy them material things for your role to have meaning. They want the gift of time with you. That’s it. Think back to when you were growing up – did you get all the time with your dad that you wanted? Even if he wasn’t the best dad, how much did you long for his attention, for him to speak words of life and encouragement to you? You now have the power to give those gifts to your children. You’ll mess up sometimes and that’s okay! Your kids don’t want a perfect “Superman” father, they just need you to WANT to be their father. They want to know that you delight in them and that you are proud of them – that you love them unconditionally and that you want to spend time with them.
Give your kids the gift of your time.
Don’t be scared to show up for them. I’m cheering you on, Dads.