Being a Dad to 3 kids (aged 10, 7 and 5) is the most exhausting yet rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I once heard it said that ‘as a parent, the days are long but the years are short.’ I’d have to agree. I am viewing my parenting and Father’s Day through this lens.
Just this weekend gone when I was contemplating a quick Sunday afternoon nap in the sun, my kids asked me to:
1. Cut some wood for the backyard firepit
2. Light the firepit, blow it out and then let master 7 re-light it
3. Find an elusive Lego piece that had been missing for years
4. Ride our bikes to get ice creams (forgetting our gloves, drink bottles and jumpers in the process)
5. Help make a ‘thing’ for the cubby house out of who-knows-what
… all in the space of 25 minutes!
A quiet nap in the sun sounded nice. But as I look back on the weekend just gone, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
The time we have with our kids – even when it feels like some days are long and tiring – really is short. When I think about the time I have left living with them, I’m challenged with a simple question.
What legacy am I leaving my kids?
As they start to grow into themselves, to develop their own ideas and mature into teenagers, I want to do things now that will help shape who they become. I want them to grow into well-rounded, resilient people who make their mark on the world.
Recently, I asked my mentor for some tips on how to help my kids grow into balanced individuals who made wise choices.
- Watch who your kids hang with. We become like those we hang around with.
- The goal is to create resilient, value-driven children and adults – not perfect ones.
- Boys learn what it means to be a man, and girls learn what it means to be a woman, by how I treat my wife and other women.
- Make memories with them.
- Watch what they take into their hearts and minds through the internet, television, music, books etc.
- Give them one-on-one time.
- Show them that they (wife and children) come first.
Playing the long game
Some of these ideas are easier said than done, but as parents, we play the long game. It’s about the small things and doing something that will teach our kids right from wrong (even if it’s only small) on a daily basis. The years of small things will compound over time until, before we know it, our 5-year-old turns 19 and leaves home. If I’m honest, a small part of me is not really looking forward to that day.
So this Father’s Day, rather than plan a nap in the sun after lunch, I’ll plan to spend time with my family.
Because after all – who needs sleep, right?
Abe is the founder of voice-over company Abes Audio.