Archive for December, 2012

A Tale of Two Daddies

My family spent this entire day having fun. We went ice skating, ate a great lunch, did a little shopping, laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. We needed it, because this month has been busier than I ever intended it to be. We can officially begin our Christmas holidays with a smile, because today was a great day.

I am a people watcher. I observe those around me, and I’m fascinated by the differences and similarities in people. Today, while Paisley and I were taking our skates off, I overheard a man talking to his wife on the phone. He was loud enough for all of us to hear, and his young daughter (six years old) was sitting beside him. He was telling his wife, “This was a terrible idea. She is no fun. She’s scared of the ice, she won’t let go of the wall and skate. There’s a slide here, and she’s scared of that, too!” All of the other adults in the shoe changing area just sat still, because it was obvious he was berating his little girl right in front of her. Other mothers made eye contact with me and shook their heads in sadness, because the little girl just sat there, head down. The man gave the phone to the child and said, “Here, talk to your mother.”

Later, I saw them out on the ice, and the child was afraid. She held onto the wall, while her daddy skated around, looking impatient. He never spoke to her. He just skated by her and shook his head. Finally, he took her hand and tried to lead her out onto the ice, but criticized her the whole time. I saw them heading to the slide and when she was brave enough to go alone, he criticized her for not letting him carry her tube instead of praising her bravery. He never said a nice word to his child, not once.

After lunch, I had to run in a grocery store. Behind me in line was a daddy and a little girl who was six years old. I know because she told me. She was friendly and funny. Her daddy was buying two bottled root beers, (the last Frosties in the store, according to her) and some chocolate for them to share. They were laughing and being silly. She told me her Elf on the Shelf’s name was Blinky Blingersomething or other, I can’t remember. But the dad knew all about it, and told her to tell me that the Elf rolled the tree with toilet paper last night. They were having the best time.

These two men made an impact on me. Now, I have a great dad. My dad could win a prize for creativity and fun and attentiveness. I’ve never questioned his love or interest in me or my brother. I’m also married to a fantastic father who adores his kids. Michael enjoys them and participates in every area of their lives. So I don’t have negative experience in the area of fathers, and I thank God for that. However, I know enough about parenting to recognize when a dad is not fully engaged in being a father to his child.

The first dad broke my heart, and made me angry. I’ve prayed and prayed for that little girl, that God will send someone into her life to be an encourager because it doesn’t seem like she’s getting it at home. The second dad made me smile, because that little girl was safe and secure in knowing she was loved.

Parents: we have to step it up. I know you’ve heard it before, but it has to be said: Pay attention to your kids. Encourage them. Love them for who they are, because they’re yours and you have one chance to raise them and know them and earn their respect and love before they’re gone. If your child is afraid to ice skate, criticism will not get them out on the ice. Encouragement, laughter, understanding and hugs might be a better tactic. So many parents find it so easy to spend their money, but don’t want to spend any of their emotional energy or their personal time on their kids. Kids know they are loved by the time we spend with them! I recently went to Disney on Ice at our Coliseum, and the dad sitting next to me played on his Iphone the whole show. His daughters would turn and say, “Did you SEE that?!” and he would grunt in response. I understand if Aladdin and Jasmine aren’t your thing, but if it’s your daughter’s thing, then you make that sacrifice for her. By showing interest, you’re letting your kids know they’re important.

Kids have a lot to offer. My kids contribute greatly to the spirit and humor of our home. I’d miss it if I wasn’t looking and listening, and I’d regret that. This Christmas, don’t miss them. Find out why they like what they got. Ask them about what they’re listening to, watching, making, building, playing, etc. Dads, you’re more than a provider. You’re a leader. God put you there to lead, and the best leaders know the people they’re leading. Your team can’t win if you don’t know the best way to coach them.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and may this next year be the best one for your family.



December 23, 2012 at 12:00 am 1 comment

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