Why

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As the saying goes – or at least as the saying SHOULD go: “Time flies when you are having kids.”

Today I took my second child to her Montessori Kindergarten for the very last time. Soon she will start in “the big school”. It feels like yesterday that we signed up her older brother for kindergarten.

That older brother who is now going by public bus to his school.

Just a couple of months ago he would want me to walk all the way into the classroom with him.
Then he told me that it was ok to be dropped off by the main door. “It’s ok, pappa.” (shy to be seen led into school by his parent.)
Then he started to say that I only had to go with him to the school gate, and before I knew it he wanted me to let him go by himself from the bottom of the hill that leds to the school.
Then a few weeks ago he started to go by himself already at the overpass that leads to the hill.
Earlier this week he told me that he was ok to walk by himself 100 meter before the overpass.

And yesterday he left me behind at 200 meters before the over pass.

I know that in a couple of months he will go to school by school bus all by himself…

I am losing him step by step.

And it goes so fast.

It makes me so proud to see him grow up to be an independent boy, but let’s be honest, it stings in the heart…

It stings that these years of walking to school with my children ended – seemingly – just as it got started.

I have taken a conscious decision to spend a lot of time with my children when they are young.

I want to suck in as much of that innocent, unconditional, pure life energy I can before it is gone.

When I hear men talk about how they are looking forward to retirement I get confused.

Who cares about quitting work to go playing golf or ride a Harley when you are in your 60’s when you can choose to work a few years longer in your 60’s and instead spend time with your children when they are young?

In most countries in the world it is not common practice that men take time off to be with their children.

That is an absolute mystery to me.

The only way I can explain it is that if you do not take time off to be with your children when they are young you do not understand the magical magic (that is the only way I can describe it) that is living under your roof. You just do not see the kids enough to fully understand that magic.

And before you get a chance to understand it the moment is gone.

They have grown up and you never got to experience them.

If you are a man I urge you to look at your life and your “life-earnings” (i.e. how much money you are going to make from the day you were born to the day you will die) and at least consider the possibility of going down in time when your kids are young (= reduced income) and instead plan to work a few more years before you retire (= increased income). Your total “life-earnings” will be the same. Your life will not be the same.

When you die I am willing to bet that when you summarise the days of your life that were the best many of those days will be days when you took off to be with your children. And very likely they will score much higher than playing golf with your senior citizen buddies.

But do it today. Tomorrow the chance will ge gone.

You blink and your children have grown up.

Do not let that happen.

Do not let your best days of your life go un-experienced.

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“If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would you choose?”

That was the question asked to a number of parents (and later their kids) in a brilliant advertisement from Master Foods in Australia.

The parents would all choose famous people (from Nelson Mandela to Justin Bieber).

Then they invited the children and the children said things like: “Mom and Dad”, “Family”, and “Does it have to be a celebrity? Could it be family?”

I highly recommend that you watch the video.

The film is obviously created to get families to eat together more (it is paid for by a food company after all.)

But even if it is advertising I find the message very strong.

Especially the message that is sent out at 1 minute 25 seconds, where the father says: “A bit of a message there for me…” and you can tell (by the look in his eyes) that this is said by a father who has been away from too many dinners with his family.

The video ends with the slogan: “Let’s make time for the people who matter most.”

Kids knows that the answer to that question is “family” (not Justin Bieber). And so does mothers and fathers – they just need to be reminded of it once in a while. Which this video did in a very good way.

Now, go home and ask: “What are we having for dinner?” (Or even better, ask your kids: “What do you want to have for dinner?”

 

 

 

 

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Why is a video of a man in a beard playing classical music going viral?

Well, because of his love for his child.

Watch this video and pay attention to the look on the dad’s face as the child falls asleep.

The lovingly smile.

Then after watching the video skip over to YouTube and read the comments that people are leaving.

They can basically be summed up in three categories:

  1. I love that song
  2. I wish I had a dad like you.
  3. You are an awesome dad (Can I marry you?)

And all he does is put his baby to sleep.

I guess a cynic would say that that shows where the bar has been set for being a good father: “Put your child to sleep and you are a great dad.”

But I hope it means more than that. I hope it shows that people really love to see a father love his child.

The comments around “I wish my dad had done this to me/smiled like that to me/cared like this for me” are sad in a way. But they also show why it is so important for fathers to play an active role in parenting. Fathers not being there puts scars into many people growing up.

And it’s such an easy thing to fix.

Just spend more time with your kids.

The comments around “you are an awesome dad (Can I marry you?)” are the ones who really inspire me. The fact that there are so many of those comments. The fact that the video is going viral (+600 000 views when I write this). The fact that it has so many more positive comments than negative (6335 vs 35) (who puts a negative comment on a video like this?). All of this, to me, shows that people are starting to appreciate when a man takes responsibility for being there for his child.

I guess I am saying: “Here is a video of a man putting a baby to sleep where the message is: it’s time for fathers to wake up.”