When it comes to being a father, there's one main principle to keep in mind: move as close to the target you can before shooting. Well, it's really my basketball rule for myself. You see, I'm not a very good basketball player. My free-throws are okay, but I have no long shot. So, my rule is to get as close to the hoop as possible before shooting the ball. From 30 feet from the hoop, I suck. From 3 feet, I'm amazing. Just as every shooter knows, the closer you are, the better.
As it is in basketball, or any other sport that has a target, the closer you are, the better. As you increase your distance from the target, even the smallest mistakes are magnified. And this principle can be applied to fathering. What's true in basketball is true in fathering. If you are going to be a great father, you have to get close. Close to your kid.
How do you get close to your kid?
Well, first. Think about your work. How many hours in the day are you away from your kids? Think about it. You all get up. It's a lot of running around and organizing. Some yelling. Shoving breakfast down. Slurping some re-heated day-old coffee. Kiss the wife. Give the kid a squeeze. Then you all separate and won't see each other until the evening. When you subtract driving and working, you have at best 2 hours with your wife and kid.
Two hours. That's it. You'd better use it wisely.
How? Get close. Increase your accuracy of being a great father by getting close. Physically close to your little one. Spend time being there, with them. Talk to them. Don't just ask, "So, how was school today?" Get into their lives. Ask questions. Get really involved. Consider:
One of the best things that I ever did to "get close" to my kids in order to increase my effectiveness as a father was to read to my kids every night before they went to bed. Short little stories for the kids, like Peter Rabbit, when they're less than 8 years old. And bigger stories, like the Lord of the Rings, when they hit 10 and 12 years old. Reading at night is awesome. Try reading for 45 minutes, then talk about what you've read for another 15.
When the kids are very young, tell them some incredibly short bedtime stories, like:
Future generations are in your hands. Starting with you and how much time to spend closely with your kids. The choices you make now about your time will determine your family tree. If you get close to your kid, you're effectiveness as a great father increases. So, get close.
Maybe your dad wasn't the greatest. May your parents sucked. Maybe you didn't have a good male role model to give you a clear picture of what you are to be as a husband and father. And maybe you don't have confidence in yourself. Well, that's what The King's Guide is for -- to provide some help.
Don't look back 10, 15 or 20 years from now, and wish you had spent more time with your kids. Don't look back and wish you had done things a little differently with raising your children. Don't wish that you would have done better. Don't wait until your job changes. Don't blame your job's pressures for your inability to spend time with your kids. Don't use your work, your wife, or anything else as an excuse to be a great father.
Your kid needs you right now.
What are you going to do (after reading this)? Find your kid, and give him/her a hug. Ask them if they want to read a book tonight -- together. Ask them if they ever heard the one about the apple named Monday. Move in real close.
You may want to read "Man's Basic Role" in The King's Guide.
And you might also be interested in reading fromHubbyHubby.com "Playing with the Kids."
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