In the movie, The Pursuit of Happyness, Will Smith plays a single father facing some tough stuff, along with his son. Yet, Smith’s character maintains his self-confidence. He is determined to create a better life for himself and his son. As a parent, it’s so important to have a strategy to build confidence in our kids in a world that constantly tells them they can’t. First, start by listening to your child. They just want to be heard. Second, be their number one encourager. Take time to attend their activities and tell them how proud you are of them.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told us what greatness is all about. He said, “Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.” One of our jobs as parents is to talk to our kids about the significance of serving others and show them how to do it. First, serve in your home. You don’t have to look any farther than the four walls of your home to serve others. Doing chores together around the house, like washing dishes, vacuuming, and taking the garbage out, will teach your child how to serve. Serving is a great lesson that your kids should learn how to model.
Dividing up responsibilities between mother and father when our kids are young can be a daunting task.
But it turns out that there’s one duty I, as a father, should always take on, according to science, no less: the bedtime story.
Kids who are read to by dad, according to a study by Harvard University researchers, have better-developed language skills than kids who were read to by mom. So, if families have a choice—meaning the father is in the picture and present in the household—dad should take on the nightly bedtime story.
Let’s face it. Most dads interact with their kids differently than mothers and those differences can be hugely beneficial—dads roughhousing with kids, for example, helps children sync physical action and mental concentration and helps them learn to regulate themselves.
So Dads, let’s read to our kids!
Dads – if you want to do something really special for your daughter, take her on a date! It will be a great way to show her you love her and give her an idea of how she should be treated once those dreaded teenage boys start showing up at your door. Dates do not have to be expensive – it is actually better if they aren’t, but they should allow you to spend time with your daughter and express to her how much you value and love her.
A majority of kids – 53 percent – in a Kaiser Family Foundation survey (from 2012) said their families had no rules for TV viewing. The remaining kids said they had rules, but just 20 percent said those guidelines were enforced most of the time. As if that’s not bad enough, the proportion of children with cable or satellite TV in their own room grew from 29 percent to 37 percent in the past 5 years. What does all this mean? Big trouble. TV is raising many children. And most of TV is not sending our children the right message. So if you want to remain in control of your children, as the parent, you must have rules that make sense.
One of the greatest Christmas movies of all time, It’s a Wonderful Life, highlights the life of an ordinary man, George Bailey, and paints of picture of what things would be like if he had never existed. It completely changed his perspective. If you’re a little down during this Christmas season, realize how much you mean to your wife, your children, your other family and friends and how much worse off they would be if you were not in the picture. Your presence is truly their best present this Christmas.
If you stop and think about it, there will come a day when you will pick up your young child for the last time. And you won’t even know it (I cannot remember that day for any of my kids). But, soon in the future, they’ll be too big for you to lift. So if you have young children, pick them up often. Hug them. Kiss them. Savor it all. These days will be gone before you know it.