The Present Dad
Are we really present these days with our kids? I know there's times when my family is talking to me and I'm multi-tasking on my phone and trying to pay attention to what they're saying.
What am I teaching my son? How can this hand held device be changing the dynamics of our families so much. I'm here to admit I can do better, we all can do better.
Statistics reveal that Children with involved Dad's are less likely to break the law and drop out of school. “When fathers are actively involved with their children, children do better,” Paul Amato, a sociologist who studies parent-child relationships at Pennsylvania State University. “There needs to be a minimum amount of time spent together, but the quality of time is more important than the quantity of time,” Amato says. “Just watching television together, for example, isn’t going to help much.”
Yo, as a Dad, you have a responsibility and everyday you're leading by example whether you feel like it or not. It's on you..or someone else if you're not around #holdup,! That's my seed, so I made the decision to always be around and I'm committed to that for life. As a product of a single parent household, I know the importance of having a father present. Growing up as a boy without a father was something no child should go through. Although, I had a wonderful mother who loves me like crazy and made sure my siblings and I were taken care of, it always felt like something was missing in my life. I came to realize at an early age it was my Dad. Not having that connection was something I was missing. I made some mistakes in my life that with some male guidance I maybe would've made better choices. I realize that being a father is not all about buying my son the latest sneakers or video games. As a dad, you have to mold and teach your kids how to make better choices in life, period.
Here's a couple of ways we started to make an effort to be more Present in the Swaggerdad house.
Put the phone away
Remember that "I learned it from watching you dad" commercial? Yep that's right, If you're sitting there on the phone all day communicating with your social media crew more so than your kids... think about it, what's that going to lead to? Social media is like a superhero with magical powers of sucking you away from the people who are actually in front of you, #wordup.
Sometimes less is more. You don't need to do it all everyday. When we're constantly running..we run past what really matters, Quality time. Simplifying things down a notch in your environment can also teach an attitude of gratitude. Discuss with your kids what you're grateful for everyday. This helps us to be more present in the moment an thankful for the things we do have.
The Art of Conversation
Make eye contact, Listen, Teach manners, Ask questions that require more than a yes or no, Share your own stories with your child, Encourage your child to tell their own stories too.
This goes both ways. Kids need their time just as you need yours. Being present doesn't mean every waking moment is dedicated to your kids. They need to explore, grow, engage and so much more. You need to Do You and whatever that means for you. Let's keep it all positive.
That's right, Lights Out little one. Not only do kids secretly like structure, they need it. The hamster wheel needs to stop at some point and Dad needs to find a relaxing way to end his day before that alarm goes off in 8 hours or 6 or 5...I don't know man, get some sleep and recharge!
Work It Out
Get those endorphines going and take time for you. Having kids is like riding a coaster at Six Flags. Some days are incredible and let's face it others can pack on the STRESS. Look, it's not all roses everyday but choose to move and get crack a lackin'. After all, you need to keep your Swag in check.
By Danny Reyes
Cover Photo by Devon Bandison