There's nothing more important that a dad can do with their kid than just being with them and doing what the kid wants to do. That's so important. We always take the kids someplace to do what we want to do. But how often do we sit right down with them and do exactly what they want to do?
Guam December 2011
Sure. "I do that all the time." But do you really? I think most dads, when the child says, "Daddy! Let's do this (or that)!" Will do it for 10 - 20 minutes or so, but get bored quickly and stand up and say, "Well, that's enough for daddy right now" and walk off.
I am reminded of my son wanting to play with Thomas the Tank Engine toys when he was 3 or 4. I thought it was totally boring. That is, until, I got right down and looked at it from his point of view. I got low to the ground and imagined that I was the train conductor and that I was driving the trains. I had to slow down at the dangerous curves and be careful of trains crossing my way. I actually became involved with the game and interacted, rather than just push some cars around in an uninterested fashion.
It soon became fun! The next thing I knew was my wife came up to us and smiled, "My! You two seem to be having lots of fun!" It was! It was fun and time went by really quickly. The next thing you know two hours had passed. We had a great old time.
I am reminded of that time often and, since it is the Christmas and New Year's holiday season, I'd like to remind you fathers and mothers too (but I suspect that most mothers don't need reminding). Recently, I went to a southern Pacific Ocean island with my wife and son and we stayed at a resort. The resort was geared towards families and so they had a water park and a game center. Of course, my son wanted to go to both all the time.
The first day there, I took my son to the pool and water park then to the game center. I found the game center extremely boring as most of the machines were broken and the change machine was in disrepair. Even so, we had a good time playing Foosball.
The next day. I was exhausted and took a nap. My son was frustrated because he wanted to go play with me. But I had to sleep. After an hour or so of napping, I woke up feeling guilty. That's when it dawned on me again; I am not on vacation here for my pleasure, I am here for his pleasure (we are on vacation after all). I woke up and asked him what he wanted to do.
It was during the day time and he said wanted to go play Foosball. I thought that was a waste of daylight and wanted to tell him, "No! We are going to the pool." but I decided then and there that I would do whatever it was that my son wanted to do.
After all, it was his vacation time too. If he wanted to waste daylight playing Foosball then what difference does it make to me? I'd decided to go have fun with him so whatever he wanted to do was fine by me. I mean, what difference does it make to me if we go Foosball for the first two hours and swimming for the next thirty minutes or so, then swimming for the first hour, then Foosball for the next two hours?
Whatever we do, I had decided that I was going to make him happy by doing what he wanted to do. Whatever it was.
Remember dads and moms... Our true happiness comes in making someone else happy, especially our kids. They aren't going to be kids forever let them enjoy it while they can...
And, if you can allow yourself to do so too, become a kid with them while you play. It is wonderful to return to the purity of our childhood, if even for a moment, if you can.
Try to do this for a day or two this holiday season... I'll bet it will truly be the present that your child remembers.