In the Palisades where I live there are two dads who have upped the dad ante, stepped up to plate in being dads. Well of course, most dads are heading for the plate, at least that ‘s their intention. But these two are hitting the ball out of the park. They have started a new website www.todayisfun.com, that offers postings of fun, simple-to-plan activities for children 2 to 12 years old. Not only does the website provide great ideas that are easy, cost free, and fun, but they also provide the list of materials needed and the rules of the road for the game or activity. On the site the activities are organized in categories such as “outside activities,” “rainy day fun,” and “good for the car.”
Oh my gosh, how great is this! So often dads who come to see me say that they really do want to spend more time with their kids, then sheepishly admit that it is often hard to find things to do, aside from “kicking the soccer ball around” or playing Leggos. At last here is the resource, an unending supply of ideas for dads (and moms) to do with their kids. I especially love that it was two dads who came up with this idea. Family is still alive and well; there is hope for our society!
The influence of dads in kids’ lives is profound. (This is not to underplay the importance of moms. Please, don’t go there.) Research actually pinpoints the effects of father influence not only on child behavior, but also in who children become, both girls and boys. It is important precisely because it is different from mother influence. Gender differences necessarily inform the way moms and dads interact with their children. And each is important and necessary in the lives of children.
I offer a seminar called Big Hat, No Cattle. That expression, one that came to us from the land of the cowboy, refers to the dad who says he is a father, but doesn’t do the job. In this seminar I address the research and present the effects of father involvement on children, pointing to the day-to-day ways in which fathers can effectively be fathers in their children’s lives. (There is still room in this March 1st seminar. Let me know if you are interested in attending.)
In the meantime, you dads, take some time with your children. Not just today, not just on the weekend. Remember it is the pennies and dimes that are put in the bank everyday that eventually amount to a healthy savings. And so it is with your regular investment in your children’s lives. And if you don’t know what to do, visit the website and learn some new car games.