Thursday, September 30, 2010

Volcanoes, Self-Esteem and Travel tips for Dads

You are looking at a photo of Mt. Rainer from my flight from Vancouver to Omaha for the 15th Annual At Home Dads convention. I’ve seen Mt. Rainer a million times, so why take a photo today? Read on.

I think almost universally among fathers, what we’d like to give our children is more time. I can say almost unequivocally, that is what our children want from us more than anything else. I’ve yet to meet anyone who said, “You know, the problem with my dad was that he spent too much time with me.”

In my corporate workshops for dads, I spend a great deal of time helping dads overcome the challenges of being busy to ensure that their child still gets the message that they are important. Some of the tips I give to traveling dads include skyping from the road, recording a bedtime story before you go away, putting pins in a map to mark where you are going (a good way to teach geography, too) or even setting up a little treasure hunt where dad can give the first clue from the road. Yesterday, my son inadvertently helped me come up with another.

When I told my four year-old son the other day that I was going away on a plane trip today, he asked if he could come with me.

“I’m sorry love, it’s just a trip for daddies. We are going to all get together and tell each other about how much we love being dads.”

“Please?” he begged. “I want to see all the things you are going to see.”

“Right” it hit me, “I’m going to take pictures of what I’m doing and email them to you every night.”

I know I’m shaped by my own experiences of having a father who lived 500 miles away, but I think it’s safe to say that children, especially younger ones, don’t understand it when dad says he has to get to some work first before he can play, or that he’s leaving town for another business trip. The danger in this scenario is that if it repeats, children can wind up feeling like a second priority.

It doesn’t take much effort to let them know they are always first and foremost in your mind. “I know you love volcanoes so here is a picture of one from the airplane. I saw it and it made me think of you,” might not seem like much, but it will mean the world to my little boy.

1 comment:

  1. That's an awesome post. I try and make sure I don't do any of my internet stuff until my kids are asleep. I just think that they are only this age once and we need to spend as much time with them as possible. Great post.