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(As impressed upon me by my wise wife)
Dads, has the child* sleeping in a crib just woken up crying? Don’t go get him/her. Wait** a while. Let them calm down.
A child who wakes up crying is still tired. And if you get them up, you’ll reinforce two ideas:
(1) that crying will help him/her their way, and
(2) the crib is a troubling place from which they should be saved.
If you let them stay, they might just fall asleep again and get some needed rest.
You want to get a child out of the crib when they’re happy.
* Not a two-week-old infant
** Obviously, waiting while they cry for three hours would be unwise.
Dads, as your kids get older, they will be able to do things you’ve never done yourself (or imagined doing) because they have different skills, gifts or motivations. Be careful not to show too much doubt as they explain what they want their next project to be, especially if the downside of failure is relatively small.
Dads, if you child ever asks, “Dad, can you come here? I want to show you something I did”, say Yes
Dads, it’s okay for you to have a stash of items that your kids can neither touch nor see, as long as two things are true:
1. Your wife has access to the stash, and
2. If your kids know about the stash, they know that their mom has access to it.
Dads, do you want a way to encourage your child to go take a nap? Make a regular habit of playing one round of hide and seek near the child’s bed. Ask if they’d rather hide or seek.
My son Foster initially never wants to take a nap, but then I say, “Do you want me to hide or do you want to?” And then he takes off running while I count to ten.
Dads, never waste any opportunity to have a good conversation with a son or daughter when you find yourself driving somewhere alone with them. Ask them if they have any big questions or ask them a big question.
Dads, the next time you think, “Wow, my kids are really in a combative/whiny/angry/defensive mood right now”, consider – did you do or say anything that would lead your kids to act like that?
If so, acknowledge to them that you did this, tell them you’re moving away from it towards more Godly behavior, and invite them to join you.
Dads, as your kids learn that there are things that you rightly shouldn’t share with them, there are significantly fewer thing you shouldn’t share with Mom. In other words, your kids should know you have fewer secrets with your wife than with them.
Dads, you know that inspiring anecdote about Suzanne Wesley – how she prayed with her apron over her head and let her ten children know that when they found her like that, she was praying and wasn’t to be disturbed?
If you ever hear a busy mom talking about how difficult it is for her to find time to pray, refrain from using this story to advise her.
That is, unless (a) you’ve spent many days home alone with your kids, and/or (b) you’ve spent many days praying under an apron.