Over the weekend I took Kiss and Madi to Dunkin Donuts to spend the rest of our $6 on the gift card I received from one of my awesome Transit boys. I finally got a chance to ask them a question I’ve been trying to ask since the beginning of the year. This deliberate father/daughter(s) time was inspired by a piece Carey Nieuwhof wrote over at Orange Parents.
What’s the best thing I did this as a dad this year?
I started getting responses I knew they thought they wanted me to hear. Stuff like:
- You took us to school
- You provided meals for us (although all credit goes to the chef)
- You go to our soccer games
- You wrestle with us
- You play with us
- You love us
- You hug us
- and so on…
I had to stop them for a minute because I wanted each of them give a specific time during 2010 that they remember they loved the most, and after a minute or so, both of the girls started talking about the day this past summer we invited some of their friends from our old neighborhood over:
We all went and took a dip in the Hooch. Later on that evening (10pm’ish?) one of the girls yelled out in a very Cartmanesque voice: “I WANT PIE!” Apparently that was a genius idea because then a mass storm of 6-10 year old girls started begging, and saying things like:
“can we get pie, pleeeease”
“OH I want banana CREAM pie”
“Do they have Lemon Meringue?”
“I WANT CHEESECAKE!”
Countless other types of pies were mentioned, as well as begs and pleads and batting of eyelashes and hugs.
I was NOT giving in.
So after we got back from Kroger with all different types of pies, we ate. (defeat)
This is a VERY short summary of how it all went down, but I asked the girls why this stuck out so much to them, and why it made THIS the best thing I did as a dad in 2010.
Kiss said it was because I helped many of the girls trek across the treacherous rapids of the Hooch, and if they got scared I would lead them and encourage them to help overcome their fears (Nevermind that the Hooch is knee-high).
Madi just loved the fact that it was so late and even though I was tired, I took them to go get Pies.
So why did I ask them what was the best thing I did in 2010? Was it to boost my ego? Was it to just so I could hear once again how awesome I can be as a Dad? Or better yet was it so that the girls could hear themselves say how awesome a Dad I am? Was it any of these? Am I THAT narcissistic?
I’ll say yes to all the above, why?
I am not only trying to work on my weaknesses as a father, but I am also working on improving what I am naturally good at. You see, I’m tired of being a good dad.
I want to be a great dad.
What better way to really know what to work on, or that you are good at and what comes natural, than to ask your own children? They reminded me of how much I love to encourage, and that even though I can be a good leader, I definitely need to develop that area to be great.
I will dedicate more to time to get better at encouraging my children, and others. (Proverbs 22:6)
I will focus in on the strengths I possess as a leader, and develop them to the best I can by surrounding myself with, and seek wisdom of other great leaders.
That day on the Hooch and with the pies really taught me something, except I didn’t learn it until 7 months later.
I will repeat Carey’s question here as I am also curious, and this doesn’t exactly have to relate to being a parent.
What did you do well in 2010?
Good stuff, man. I look forward to doing stuff like that with my kids, once I have them.
A friend once told me that being a great father and being a great military officer are mutually exclusive. Never before have I understood that like I do now. He went on to say you can be great at one and good at the other, but more often, if we try very hard, we end up being good at both and great at neither.
Most days, while I’m 8000 miles away, I dont feel I fall even in the “fair” category, let alone “good.” Like you, I aspire to be great. Here’s what I’ve come to realize.
Dont be so self critical. I didn’t become a parent as a matter of privilege, rather a matter of responsibility. That is a mission given by God Himself. He has given me all the tools I need to overcome the obstacles. I guess it is natural to feel guilt as a parent, I know I do. But I refuse to feel guilt about enjoying the moments of sheer brilliance that effect my children’s lives. Those moments are also a Divine gift and to sell them short, in my humble opinion, is to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Really miss you guys. Hug all the kids, and please give Maddog a piggyback ride for me.
Well said Tyler, and will do. I’ll make sure Madi reads this last sentence 🙂
Not sure if I’ve really ever said this, but thank you for being you and taking care of my sis 🙂
I think most importantly things like this show them that you pay attention, which is kind of a big deal…
My dad walked out on my brother and I when we were too small to even remember him. Christ has allowed me to forgive him and not hold any grudges against him.
Now that I have kids, I want to do the opposite of what my dad did. I want to be the best dad my children can have. In 2010 I have spent significant time with my children in ways that have brought extreme joy to my life.
I do lots of arts and crafts with my 6 year old daughter (she loves art) and I have played the role of Hulk, Spiderman, and other superheroes with my 3 year old son. It’s exhausting… but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Wow Moe, thanks for sharing. It sounds like you’re definitely on the right path. Isn’t it awesome how the time you spend benefits both, and brings joy all around? It’s crazy how some fathers don’t realize that…
I’m looking forward to 3 years old, and even older for Jack, and playing all kinds of superhero games. Except the “I think I can fly off the roof with an umbrella game.” I played that when I was younger, and lost.
Someday your daughters will probably look for a man just like their father to become their mates because of the things you are doing with them now. That is God’s plan – keep it up! When you reflect the love of your heavenly father, they have a great role model of who to choose. Your son will also mirror the man he watches when it is his turn to be a father. Isn’t that awesome.
Way to challenge us all for 2011.
I think many of us dads settle for “good enough” when we have to potential to be great.
I bet that day on the Hooch will stick with your girls for years to come.
A good word from a good man. Thank you.
Thanks for the encouragement, and I’m glad you (hopefully along with others) feel challenged.
What an encouraging post! Perfect timing for a challenge as we’re starting off the new year.
One of the things I’m most proud of last year was taking my oldest daughter (3 now) to a couple Braves games. Just me and her. I grew with lots of traditions, so its been neat to see this develop and grow into something of a tradition (for just me and her). Even now (4-6 months later) she’ll bring up, “Braves game? We can eat pizza, grapes, and Coke.” (and thats exactly what we ate each time, with a little cotton candy thrown in)
We’ll even ask her, “Who do you want to go to the Braves game with?” She’ll respond, “Daddy!”. We then ask, “What about mommy?”
She replies, “No, no… mommy stays home with Olivia. Just me and daddy.”
Love it! 🙂
Ha! I love the “Who do you love more, me or mom?” I mean I don’t do that, or anything…