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Events and Life

14 years ago

My father passed away 14 years ago, on 12 July 2003. After 14 years he is in my thoughts daily.

There are times when I recognise some behaviour of mine that I probably picked up from him. These are usually the moments when I feel like I understand him a little better.

Mostly, I think about him when I spend time with my family and how much he’d love our kids. I think he would have been an amazing grandfather and his biggest challenge would probably have been working out how to spend as much time as he could with his five grandkids (at present count) in three countries.

Even though he never met Gina or our kids, I’m glad his memory and example still guides me 14 years later. To the extent I’m probably a better father, husband and human being, it’s thanks to him.

Categories
Events and Life

The heaviest object in the universe and other parenthood moments

Just when you think you are the only parent who has to deal with ridiculous parenthood moments, you find posts like this that reassure you that you are not alone …

I had this conversation with our kids about two weeks ago:

This, of course, is a classic:

This is a daily occurrence in our home:

There are so many more of these gems but I have work to do and my daughter is going to start wonder why Daddy is laughing so much and what it has to do with her and her brother …

Check out How to Be a Dad for more. It is my new favourite parenting site!

Image credit: Eskimo kissing by Caroline Hernandez

Categories
Events and Life

Thoughts about my father and fatherhood on his birthday

Today would have been my Dad’s 66th birthday (I think). My father’s birthday is always a pensive day for me and I miss him a little more on these anniversaries.

On days like today, I often find myself trying to conjure up memories of what he was like as a father. I wonder how he would deal with all the little situations we encounter each day? I don’t have many clear memories of my childhood and yet I sometimes have a sense of how he would behave in random situations.

Being a father isn’t easy. We have our own personality quirks to muddle through at the same time we are learning about how to be better dads and parents to our children. There is always room to improve, to give our kids more attention, play more with them, be more present.

On one hand, it seems I can never live up to my expectations of myself as a father and on the other, I wonder if each step towards meeting them is all we can really do.

Even though I almost always feel like I am falling short of my expectations of what it is to be a good father, perhaps having those expectations is a testament to my father. He wasn’t perfect (none of us are) but he set the bar pretty high by his actions and by what he was able to do in the short time he was alive.

To say that I ask myself what my Dad would do often is an understatement. In many ways he guides my actions as a father even though he passed away years before I became a father. That makes the journey a little easier and his loss a little more meaningful.

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Events and Life Social Web

Twitter says #ThankYouDad

I get a kick out of how the social networks celebrate events like Father’s Day and its #ThankYouDad campaign is a fun example. Even though Father’s Day is over for the year, I wanted to share two tweets I enjoyed.

Dad data on Twitter

Top Dad hashtags on Twitter

After reading about how many Dads use some Dad-related mention in their Twitter bios, I had to update mine too.

Here are more #ThankYouDad tweets from Twitter users:


Featured image credit: Twitter HQ: Logo artwork – Copyright Marisa Allegra Williams (@marisa) for Twitter, Inc.

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Events and Life Mindsets

“I just don’t want to make your day worse, Dad”

“I just don’t want to make your day worse.” My daughter’s tearful words to me before bed hit me like a proverbial shovel (or whatever proverbially hits people). I paused and explained to my little girl that her Dad had a tough day at work.

“You and your brother make my day better,” I said to her, “not worse. Definitely not worse. It’s not your fault that I was grouchy. That is my fault. I let my day upset me and I’m sorry I was grouchy with you tonight.”

I told her I love her very much and turned off the light. She turned over, went quiet and soon fell asleep. I sat with her like I usually do, this time in the growing realisation that letting myself become so caught up in my day stress-stuff meant I was putting strain on my family, my refuge from it all.

Trying to be a better Dad

When I find myself anxious or upset during my day about some or other stressor, I keep thinking that I should be able to handle it all better. After all, I’m 40 years old and I’ve been through more stressful things than this. When do I start behaving like the grown-up I am supposed to be and process my stress in a constructive manner?

It isn’t Father’s Day in Israel today but considering I’m formerly a South African and it was Father’s Day there (and elsewhere) today, I’ll go with it for now. Father’s Day is a celebration of fatherhood (yes, and an over-commercialised event, blah blah). It is another reminder to me of how fortunate I am to be a Dad to our amazing children.

In recent days, I think I have lost sight of that a bit and I let myself be snared by my stresses. This adult thing isn’t easy. It seems there isn’t really a manual for that one either.

I suppose all we can do is try be aware of our behaviour; get better at letting go of the crap we can’t change and change the crap we can. Most importantly, don’t lose sight of the people who make it all worthwhile: our family and friends.

If all else fails, I hear crying in a manly way into your beer or brewing a perfect flat white helps. I’m partial to Mumford & Sons’ Wilder Mind, but that could just be me.

Image credit: Pexels

Categories
Events and Life Games Mindsets

My wake-up call to play more with our kids

One of my friends gave me a long overdue wake-up call to play more with our kids recently. I was at a local park with our kids, along with my friend and his boys. We started playing some sort of Israeli version of “Tag” (at least what I understand the game to be) where one person has to touch one of the others playing the game, who then becomes “it”.

It was fun and it was different to what I usually do at the park with our kids. I tend to see an outing to the park as either an opportunity to crash in the open air and relax or follow our kids around on their bikes teaching them to ride. Running around dodging kids trying to grab me was actually a lot of fun, even though it also reminded me that I’m not as agile as I thought I was (I landed on my butt at least once).

As we were about to leave, my friend said to me:

You should play more often with your kids, they love it. I used to do it all the time with my boys.

At first, I was a bit taken aback. For one thing I didn’t think that I was one of those parents who didn’t play with my kids. Of course I did, didn’t I? When I thought about it I realised that I tend to resist playing with them for some or other reason. Usually it is because my idea of park downtime means emulating the trees rather than running, jumping and swinging with seemingly superhuman energy.

I also started to feel more than a little ashamed that I had failed to realise that my role as a Dad is to play with my kids, not just watch them play by themselves. I can be selfish when it comes to my downtime and this experience gave me an “when I am on my deathbed one day I won’t wish I spent less time playing with my kids and more time sitting on my butt on the sidelines” epiphany.

Our kids loved that I played with them, even if it was only for a short time. They really loved seeing their Dad try dodge them and fall down. It also felt pretty good to be more active (also helpful to keep my Diabetes under control too). I started feeling the need to get over my default laziness and play with them, at the very least to face my usual lethargy with some vigour.

I’m fortunate to have a few friends who are great Dads. They always seem to be so actively involved in their kids’ lives, doing stuff with them and making time for them. I have many moments when I feel like I can do so much better at this Dad thing than I have been. Our kids deserve a Dad who will play more with them and finding the balance in my life to give them what they deserve feels pretty challenging at times.

I remember thinking that marrying Gina in my early 30s was a good age because it meant that when we had kids, I’d still be young enough to keep up with them and play with them. Now, at 40, my body protests a bit more than it used to but I was right. I just have to get off my butt and start doing that.

Image credit: Pexels