Saturday, January 29, 2011

Celebrating Great Dads!

We are a long way off these days from shows like Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver.  You know, shows where Dad was king and always had the right answer.  The most consistent father image on TV is Homer Simpson, the bumbling idiot, who is good for a laugh, but not for a role model.  As a whole, I think dads get looked over a lot.  We live in an age where many kids don't live with their own fathers.  I had a kindergarten class a few years back of 20 students.  Of those 20, only 5 lived with their fathers.  One of those was a single dad who just melted my heart.  He had 3 girls and he tried so hard to do right for them.

Really, I just wanted to take a moment for dads.  So often they get the short end of the stick.  We know mom is there.  Moms get celebrated and loved.  Believe me, I've seen the all out madness that overtakes a school near Mother's Day, of crafts and cards and poetry.  But Father's Day often gets neglected because teachers don't want kids to feel bad if they don't have a dad around.  (I would argue that the reverse could be true as well).  I had a fantastic teacher friend who still acknowledged Father's Day and had crafts, cards and poetry associated with it.  She asserted that there really was no good of ignoring the existence of a holiday.  Most children if they didn't have a father in their lives, usually had a grandfather, uncle or step-father around who they could celebrate in the father role.  I agree with that.

I was struck this week by how determined my husband is to be a good, involved father with our children.  His own father often worked away, consequently he doesn't feel that he was fathered well.  His dad wasn't one to sit him down and ask how his day was.  He knew that when he had kids he would do his best to do better than that. 

Here are some things that make me happy to know my husband is there for my kids. 

Bedtime is Dad time.  They have a whole routine down of talk time, devotional time, prayer time and cuddle time (and goodness help you if you try to leave out one part of it).  We first picked this up from watching friends of ours who started having children a couple of years before we did.  The mom took charge of getting the baby down to bed, and the dad took charge of the other child's bed time.  It works.  My husband loves that our kids open up to him at bedtime, telling him their troubles and celebrating successes.  It's great.

Hockey practice is also Dad time.  He takes our son outside and works with him on his shots, stick handling and goal tending skills.  Not every day, but he tries to get out there once or twice a week.  He's not easy on him either.  He encourages our son, teaches him tricks, but doesn't let him get away with laziness.  He pushes him to keep trying, keep getting better.  He certainly applauds him, but is trying to find a balance between tough on him and too gentle on him.

Ever since our first child was little and old enough to go out for the day, my husband has made a point of having a special outing with our kids once every couple of weeks.  It may be as simple as a muffin at Tim Horton's or going for a ride on the subway line, but our kids love it.  I love it too as it gives me a nice hour of quiet time at home.

I brought up the idea that maybe we need to have another 'sex' talk with our oldest child, just because of some of the questions he's been asking lately.  I said I was totally happy to do it, but my husband said he would.  He remembers that his dad never talked about that kind of stuff with him and he wished he had.  Boys need another male perspective.

My husband volunteered to read to our son's class this week on Family Literacy Day.  Before we had kids he would often come down to read to my classes as well.  He thinks it is important to see that men can play a positive role with kids.  I taught in high needs schools where most of my kids didn't have positive male role models around.  They loved when my husband came in to the classroom.

I know these are just little things, but they do start to add up.  We know we have a long way to go from being perfect.  But this week, I was just struck by how much I appreciate what my husband does to be a good father.  How about you?   What ways do you see your kid's dad engaging with your kids?

1 comment:

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