This month we celebrated the birthdays of both of my sons. The oldest turned nine, and then a couple weeks later the youngest turned five. If you’ve experienced anything with raising boys you know they are at that sweet spot.
That sweet spot where life is amazing. The problems they have are forgotten minutes later, once the next ball gets thrown up, or they stumble across one of their action figures, or there is anything that grabs their attention for a split-second. The sweet spot where everything is AWESOME! (cue Lego Movie theme song)
Why dads love this stage
As a dad it’s the sweet spot for me too. They can both use the bathroom on their own, take baths, brush their teeth, get their clothes on—they can just about do all the basics on their own. In addition to ride bikes, shoot a basketball, and throw and catch a baseball or football.
When they’re at this age you begin to flashback to yourself during the “glory” days of after age four, but before age ten. You can now hang out with your sons and have your very own guys night or day (without diapers, bags, sippy cups, etc).
I have to admit, it is probably just as much fun for me as it is for them. Our interests are almost the exact same with the exception of girls. Sports, super heroes, and being silly are what make up a lot of our time together. I’m sure sometimes my wife and daughter can’t tell which one of us is the grown-up.
What dads think about
Things are fun, but not too serious. It’s a pretty nice comfort zone. Yet you still have those thoughts. Thoughts like…
“How am I doing raising my sons?”
“What type of men will they turn out to be?”
And a big one that I believe dads secretly wonder, “what will my sons think of me when they’re grown?”
A mentor of mine, Thom Rainer, shared his book with me called, “Raising Dad.” The book is a memoir written by his son, Art, about the successful parenting he received firsthand. It’s a grown-up child sharing his thoughts of his dad.
It has me thinking about the three questions I posed earlier, especially the last one—what will my sons think of me when they’re grown?
The influence on my son will be lasting
The good part is they are young and I should have a lot of time to positively influence their lives and thoughts by our interaction today. The bad part is I’m not perfect, I make mistakes, and I’ll make plenty more.
If my sons were to write a book as my adult-children here are 5 things I hope my sons think of me when they’re grown.
1 – My dad is fun!
I know this isn’t all deep and everything, but I really want my kids to remember the fun we had together. Whether that be on the basketball court, playing with their toys, being silly, or just hanging out. I hope I’m not the boring dad to them, but the fun dad.
2 – My dad is strong and courageous
I’m not (just) talking physical strength. I’m talking confidence and undeterred. I’m not talking a macho-man type of toughness, but someone who makes bold decisions even against opposition, and someone who makes up his mind and doesn’t allow anything to stop him.
That may come out in the form of physical protection, but most of the time it will come out in mental and emotional strength like discipline, honesty, and sacrifice.
3 – My dad loves my mom
I’ve written in the past about the importance of loving your kids mother. I hope this is one of the things that sticks with them and leaves an impression that they want to follow. My relationship with their mother will have an impact on their relationship with women, their future wife, and ultimately impact their future family.
4 – My dad is always there for me
When my sons have a problem, a question, or anything on their mind, I want to be one of the first people they consider talking to about it. My friend Megan Hyatt Miller talks about the power of “yes” when it comes to our children. I want my sons to know the answer is “yes” when they need me. I might not always say “yes” to every single thing, but I hope they see me as a “yes-man” in being there for them.
5 – My dad loves me
No matter what I do with or for my sons, if it’s without love it’s nothing. At the end of the day I want my sons to know all that I’ve done was out of love. Even those times of discipline and tough love.