Your primary role in fatherhood is teaching. Not in some esoteric, zoomed out, touching moment in a hallmark movie sort of way but in a day to day, this is how you ride a bike sort of way. Yesterday I took my daughters out for mini golf. We spent a couple minutes ahead of time learning how to hold a putter so they didn’t take out someones kneecaps. It’s that sort of thing.
Talk to them.
Conversation. My oldest daughter (11) and I have an agreement. When we’re alone in the truck going off to whatever we’re doing at the moment, she has permission to say whatever she wants about whoever she wants. If she wants to curse like a drunken fisherman who just lost his boat in a bad poker game, she can. Dems da rules. All I do is listen and try to be sympathetic. You know what? She feels totally free to talk to me about anything. You know what she normally talks about? Pokemon. Sometimes her sister, but mostly pokemon. And she almost never swears.
Set boundaries for them.
Kids in playground A had no fence. Kids in playground B had a fence. Kids in playground A huddled in the middle and mostly had a miserable time. Kids in playground B used the entire playground to have fun and explore.
Kids need boundaries to feel safe. They need to know where the line is. After they’re comfortable with the line they’ll want to push it a little. It’s normal. You and I did it too.
Treat your wife right.
Whenever I do something with or to my wife, this question is playing in the back of my brain like a ticker tape on Wall Street.
Do I want someone doing this to my kids someday?
If the answer is yes, continue ahead. If the answer is no, man up and re-evaluate.
I can already hear the hordes of men yelling, “What if my wife doesn’t treat me right?! What if she makes my life miserable at every turn?! It’s just not fair!”
It doesn’t matter. You don’t treat your wife right because she treats you right. You treat her right because you’re a man. Being a man isn’t fair. Fair is a word made up by weak men who couldn’t be better. That’s not you. You’re a better man.
Help them with their homework.
Sounds easy right? It is. This is pure, unadulterated time with your kids. You show them, they practice, repeat. If you’re sitting in that big hole in the couch watching Family Guy while your kids are trying to learn long division, you’re doing it wrong.
Kids spell love t-i-m-e. It’s that easy. Hang out with your daughters. Do a hobby together, practice a play, paint the house, it doesn’t matter. Any time spent with your daughters is going to have a lasting impact. Fatherhood is about making small deposits over time that add up to a big nest egg in the future of your girls.