Phil Baker an author from Western Australia, was addressing a large group of high profile community leaders. He told them that if they really wanted to affect the community, they had to ‘stop being so boring’. Many of his audience were quite shocked at his comments. The same goes for us as fathers. We have to stop being so boring and begin go out of our way to engage with our children.
Recently I came across a refreshing blog called Help I’m a Father by Mark who identifies himself as ‘mark1839’. In a blog post called Am I a Boring Dad to my Children? How do I know if I am, and how do I stop it? He says:
Do your children find you boring? If so, and you will know whether they do, you have to ask yourself why! There is always a risk that parents lose the ability to remain relevant to their children as they are growing up. This becomes particularly acute when your child becomes a teenager. So, the question is, how do you avoid this? Can you avoid it, or is it inevitable?
The answer is yes of course you can avoid this! It just takes effort and commitment, and a real desire on your part. The key to remaining relevant and avoiding becoming boring is to stay interested in what your children do, and become tolerant of their developing tastes.
This isn’t always easy, as their tastes in clothes, music, films and friends can be so different from yours. But you have to try, because if they perceive you as being boring and uninterested in what they do, they will stop communicating with you. The moment they do this, you will become irrelevant to their lives and just a peripheral figure floating around the edge of their existence!
This is to be avoided at all costs, as your children need you perhaps more than at any time in their lives when they become teenagers, as their points of reference are changing so quickly. You become the constant, but you have to adapt with them. But it is possible, so never give up trying…
Recently I have been working hard on several projects with my good friend Wayne Larkin, Visual Design Group. Wayne completed our first ‘Good to Great’ Fatherhood Course and is a devoted dad with two delightful daughters. He has immense experience in advertising and marketing, having won 28 national and international marketing awards for TV, print, radio and other media.
Wayne has experienced the work of Dads4Kids firsthand and has summarised our work with fathers down to four words: LOVE, LAUGH, LISTEN, LEARN. Wayne is a strategic thinker par-excellence and I believe that he has hit the nail on the head.
Often fatherhood is portrayed as deadly serious and at times rather fearsome. But our children need – and want – to love, laugh, listen and learn. Our job as fathers is to give them both what they need as well what they want.
We learn best when we laugh. Victor Borge said, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people”. Laughter helps us to love, listen and learn. Mary Anne Radmacher-Hershey says, “Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Continue to learn. Play with abandon. Choose with no regret. Laugh! Do what you love. Love as if this is all there is.”
To quote from Rob Parson, author of ‘The Sixty Minute Father’ and still one of the best book on fatherhood that I have ever read.
Life is serious. There is pain and sorrow on every hand. There are bills to pay, and examinations to pass, there is healthy eating to attend to, and discipline to be imparted. All that is true; but childhood needs also to be a time of laughter. To see a picture of a child abused, or hungry, or alone brings tears not just because of the direct pain but because they are being robbed of childhood and of their right to laugh.
We somehow have to raise children who can cope with the serious issues of life and yet can remember years of laughter. That may involve us in learning to laugh again . . .
When my children were small they used to love having what we called a ‘family night’. They would drag their mattresses into our bedroom and sleep on the floor. But once in a while we would have a ‘super family night’. That involved us all sleeping on the lounge floor together. There are no logical reasons why four people with perfectly good beds should want to do that; except that it’s fun . .
But children love those who have the time not only to teach them, but to have fun with them.
That’s right LAUGH, and have some fun with your children.
If you can laugh, your children can too.
Your children need a fun dad, not a boring dad.
Besides, it’s more fun not being boring.
Yours for loving laughter
PS. One of the projects that I am working on with Wayne Larkin is helping promote and organise the National Day of Prayer & Fasting. If you want to learn more about this prayer project feel free to attend our Change Australia Webinar. It is being held at 8PM NSW time this Wednesday night. This is a link to a video promo I recently did to encourage people to sign up for the webinar If you are like me and believe that our nation is facing difficult times on many fronts and you believe in the power of prayer, you will enjoy it. REGISTER- CHANGE AUSTRALIA WEBINAR HERE.