Dads To Do List- 10 Things That Fathers Should Do Every Day
What are some things that I can do to be a better father? That is a question that I ask myself quite often. I must admit that I can oftentimes be harder on myself than I should be. When it comes to fatherhood, it is easy to get so caught up in the daily operation of taking care of home, work, and everything in between that we lose sight of many of the critical elements in our lives that require us to be fully present without distraction.
I wanted to share a list of things that I think will help us as fathers get centered and focused on the things that are truly important.
After reading this list, I’d love for you to leave a comment and let me know what are some things that you do daily to help you be the best that you can be.
1. Pray – Faith is extremely important to me. I have learned that starting the day with a prayer can make a huge difference on not just my outlook on the day as a whole, but also on how I approach situations throughout the day. Prayer is just a small thing that can make a huge difference. And it doesn’t have to be anything extensive. Sometimes those short and sweet prayers are the most effective.
2. Exercise – Exercise is one of those things that many of us hate to do, but we HAVE to do! As father’s it is important that we make time to focus on our health. There are so many benefits to regular exercise. The risks of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes are among the major reasons why we should get active. But, did you know that exercise can also have an impact on brain functions, memory, testosterone levels, and reduce your risk of cancer? Exercising as little as 30 minutes a day five times per week can have a huge impact on your health and will get you on the road to living a healthier lifestyle.
3. Communicate with your children – A large part of our role as fathers is to be communicators. We should be having as many conversations with our kids as we can. The important thing to understand about communication with our kids is that it is vital that we do as much listening as we do speaking. For those of us who have and teenagers, we understand that communicating with us is not on the top of our teen’s lists of priorities, but we still have to make daily efforts to connect with them in meaningful ways. In today’s society, the life of a young person moves so fast. Things are largely based on instant gratification so it can be easy to miss certain things if we aren’t at least having regular conversations with our kids.
4. Tell your children you love them – Three words that can go a long way. I. LOVE. YOU. Those words are so easy to say, but sometimes we let days…weeks… even months go by without uttering them to those who are the closests to us. When I’m around friends and they’re talking to their kids I often catch myself listening to see if they express their love to them. For me, I probably tell my kids that I love them at least 10 times a day. Maybe more. But, that’s just how I was raised. Even when I speak to my mother now, we never get off of the phone or leave each other’s presence without saying ” I love you”. Love has the power to do so many different things. The fact that three simple words can used to provide encouragement, reinforce correction and discipline, give hope and so much more is just amazing to me. Its important for our kids to know that even when they go out into a world that may not always be the most compassionate, that they can always count on the love of their father to be there regardless of where they are or what they do.
5. Be present emotionally – Expressing emotions isn’t something that always comes easy for men. Many times we shut down our emotions and put up a wall in order to guard ourselves from what we think will be perceived as weakness. Society teaches us that being a man requires us to be “tough” all of the time. Many times we take this attitude into the way that we parent. We can’t be so detached from our emotions that we lean away from the basic needs that our children have to connect with us on a human level. Its okay for us to cry or show empathy. Kids need to see their fathers expressing his emotions. It also shows them that you aren’t too “hard” to love them.
6. Find time for yourself– Out of all of the items on the list, this one might be the most difficult for me. Trying to juggle work, a wife and two kids at home, my speaking business and so much more sometimes there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. One thing that I strive to do is to find at least 5-10 minutes throughout the day just to step back and take some deep breaths and decompress. Sometimes this comes in the form of shutting everything down just so I can play a few games of Words With Friends on my cell phone. Other times it comes in the form of taking a walk, or going to the barbershop to get my haircut. Whatever it is that can help you find a sense of peace during the day… DO IT! A few moments a day can be the difference maker in how successful you are at meeting your goals throughout the week.
7. Don’t give up – A wise man once told me “your attitude will determine your altitude”. Meaning that the attitude that you have about something will determine how high you go. We have all been in situations where we felt like giving up. Honestly, there have been times when I HAVE given up. And each time I did I found myself regretting it once I decided to start over. If I would have just stayed the course and been more diligent about creating a plan for success and sticking to it I would never have had to start over. Times are going to get tough, and giving up can oftentimes seem like the best option, but you will be surprised what will happen when you push a little harder and stretch yourself. The results will amaze you. Sometimes we don’t give ourselves credit for the strength that we possess. Like they say in football, we have to KEEP POUNDING!!!
8. Smile at someone – We’ve got a lot to smile for! When we make an effort to smile at someone else we are potentially changing the trajectory of their day. Not only are we taking a moment to show a sign of gratitude, but we are also helping to boost the mood of someone else. There are also health benefits that come along with cracking a smile. Research shows that smiling and laughing releases endorphins to our brain which in turn reduces pain and causes us to feel happier and less stressed. Smiles are also contagious, and they make others feel better. If you haven’t smiled today, take a moment and show someone those pearly whites!
9. Treat others the way that you would like to be treated – This is a big one! It is important to pay attention to the way that we treat others. We have to consciously treat folks in a manner that reflects the way that we would like to be treated. It can sometimes be easy to forget how far a little kindness can go. Especially in the no filter, politically incorrect world that we live in today. But, we can all find the time to be kind to someone else, even if they don’t always deserve it. Forgiveness and grace are two very important things. I offer that forgiving others isn’t always about what they did to us, but it is also about releasing the negative energy that comes along with holding on to a grudge. We’ve all done things that we have asked to be forgiven for, so we must always remember that when we walk in our relationships with others. Your kids are always watching at how you treat other people. You want to exemplify for them how to get respect by giving it to others.
10. Focus on YOUR strengths – Stop comparing yourself and your life to other people! Cut it out RIGHT NOW!!! It is so easy to dwell on the things that we don’t have or what we haven’t accomplished. Sometimes we look at others are doing and then turn around and look at our faults and use them as crutches to prevent us from going out and getting the things that God has already planned for us to have. When we focus on our weaknesses instead of our strengths it causes us to dim the light that shines on the things that we are really good at. An attitude that focuses on highlighting and complimenting our own strengths is one that will lead us to success in whatever we wish to accomplish. We all make mistakes and fall short of certain goals, but there should not be a hurdle that we are not able to get over because internally we have everything that we need to get us to wherever it is that we want to go. Let’s forget about what everyone else is thinking or saying about us and focus on what we can do to enhance our strengths.