Let’s face it, our children need active fathers! Last month, we celebrated our moms for all their hard work and efforts towards raising up a healthy home. Just as importantly, we need to honor and show appreciation towards our active fathers for their efforts towards being the strong leader of the house.
As Father’s Day approaches, I cannot help but reminisce on all that my amazing father has done for my and our family. My father raised me and my sister on his own from the time our mom past away till the day we graduated high school. We were only 8 and 16 years old when the tragedy struck our family, but rather than running from his responsibly, my father, decided to step up and conquer both the mother and father role. I am eternally grateful for all the hard work that he put towards his career to earn enough money to provide for us. Love you Daddy! However, what makes me most happy when looking back at my childhood years are the times he exemplified what I consider heroic qualities that only a father can exude.
For example, active fathers let their children know they love them by telling them every day. Active fathers provide their children with emotional support, and help enhance their self-esteem. Active fathers play with their children, go to their sporting events, and act as a role model for their children at all times. According to Stephen D. Green, Ph.D., Child Development Specialist, active fathers also help their children learn important life skills. “Most of the essential life skills that children need to survive are learned within the home. Fathers have a unique opportunity to teach their children valuable skills that will enable them to grow up to be healthy and productive adults”, says Green.
Make no mistake about it; being an active father is tough and deserves all the kudos in the world! With that being said, I believe that all of my Shed 'n Shred reading parents are (like me) looking for ways to be the BEST role model possible for the next generation.
Here are my 5 Ways Fathers Can Bond With Their Children:
Get your children involved with your workout! One of our family weekend routines is going to the local high school track and running drills. Sure, my 7 and 9 year old boys only spend about 10 minutes with me and then they are off playing on the soccer field, but I get the chance to show them what it is like to push themselves. When your body is tired and you want to give up, just keep going to the finish line! The reward is that you are making yourself faster, and who doesn’t want to be the fastest kid in school? Anybody? An article I found at www.bodybuilding.com agrees that, “Instilling a good work ethic in children helps them become more productive adults. It’s not just about fitness; work ethic helps children excel at school and in the work place.”
Cook together. Obviously you wouldn’t want to bring your 5 year old out with you to grill but they can help marinade the chicken! My, once picky-eaters, started to explore new foods when I got them involved in the kitchen. They help me make casserole dishes, muffins, smoothies and more. I have to admit that I really enjoy the help in the kitchen and its been a joy seeing them get healthier by making their own meals. Double win in my opinion!
Play with your food. Contrary to what you make think, the well-known and globally respected Dr. Oz recommends, that parents should stay clear from sending negative messages to our children about food. Rather than saying, “Don’t eat junk food!” “Don’t watch too much television!” “Don’t! Don’t! Don’t!”, instead make talks about food positive. “You’ve got to offer healthy foods that are fun, colorful, and interactive. Remember that kids want to discover, not be told, so let them seek out their own fruits and vegetables.”, explains Dr. Oz.
Be Present. Most parents these days work long and hard hours. However, try your best to make it to all of your children’s school/sporting events. If you are not able to make it, get to know some of the parents and perhaps ask if they can video tape the event for you. Being more actively involved in your children’s active life will show them that it is important to you that they do well. As our toddlers turn to teens, they have a deep desire to grasp someone’s attention. By making your attention the center of their focus you can rest assured they will not be seeking negative influences.
Make time for One-on-One Time. Studies show that father’s that take their daughters out on a “date” have better relationship with their family in the long run. If you are raising up boys consider taking them to a ball game and this time rather than getting completely caught up in the game, observe how your boy is enjoying the game and see if he has questions for you about the sport. You may find that the game will give you a great opportunity to bond with your children when you share stories about you playing the sport.
Give your dads a hug (or phone call) this Sunday and let them know how much you appreciate them. While, I don't have my mom anymore, I still have people in my life that have stepped into that role for me and have been a mentor so I reach out to them on Mother's Day. If that's the case with you and you do not have your father in your life then call someone that has maybe loved you like you were their own.
As always thanks for reading my blog! It's blowing my mind that people actually care about what I have to say.
AgriLife Extensions: Texas A & M System. “20 Reasons Why Your Child Needs You to Be an Active Father”.
Dr. Mehmet OZ, M.D. “His favorite health tips for parents.”
P.S. Please do me a favor and share this post with one person that you think could benefit from reading it. My hope it that this message touched you and challenged you. Now let's go make the world a better place!