Sunday, June 17, 2018

Baking Up Success

About a year ago my daughter started begging me for her own social media accounts. Being the protective dad that I am, I said no. In the age of cyber predators and cyber bullying, I'm sure many dad of daughters can relate to my reluctance with releasing her into the world of social media. Eventually she and her mother wore me down. Once I got over my fears of "turning my kid over to the mean streets of social media, I began to understand her plans.  My then 9 year old had dreams of using social media to showcase her cooking and her love for toys. She began to explain how she wanted to be a baker and NOT a YouTube star. If she got followers that would be fine but she says she just wants to inspire other kids on her journey to becoming a professional baker. At that moment I realized that her desire to be a business owner was very real. I could no longer deny her the right to be online.

"It's vital that dads allow their children to develop their own interests. I see too many dads attempting to force their career goals onto their kids only to find out later in life that their kid was miserable."

She's a year older now and her love for baking has intensified.  Unlike me, my daughters have grown up watching two parents run their own businesses. To top it all of she and her sister live in a time where ADULTS have become millionaires by doing the mundane task of simply opening up toys. So, it's easy to see how this focused intensity has taken root. She does have some interests in being a typical kid on social media, but she is also extremely driven to use the internet for business. My girl now has her own cooking Instagram page, YouTube channel and is actively writing her own cookbook for kids. As a media professional I'm thrilled that my now 10 year old has interests in using media to promote her business. If I'd grown up with parents that had entrepreneurship in their veins, there's no telling where I'd be right now. From a business stand point I was a bit of a late bloomer. It wasn't until the college years that I started my own business.

It's vital that dads allow their children to develop their own interests. I see too many dads attempting to force their career goals onto their kids only to find out later in life that their kid was miserable. Some kids find that living out their parents' career goals simply isn't for them. They need space to pursue their goals. Dads must prepare their kids for and direct them towards success. As a father, I have very little interest in baking. However, my wonderful daughter does.  So... guess where a good portion of my money goes to? Baking supplies of course. I've been put on notice to not buy toys, instead bring home those baking supplies. Where has my baby girl gone? I have to believe she's growing up to follow the path of success. For whatever she accomplishes in this life, I'm thankful to have had a part in helping her get equipped for her journey.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

What Did You Say!!??

"So dad my nails didn't turn out right. I tried to use this new zig-zag template and then tried an abstract design but neither worked. The abstract was too thick and ended up being all tacky," she said as dad listened with eyes glazed over. It sounds like a page out of a novel, but that quote is actually from a conversation I had with my daughter the other evening.  If you have daughters like me you know like I do that there's hardly ever a shortage of words being spoken on any given day. With the abundance of words there have been plenty of times that I've missed some detail that I was later interrogated on, but came up clueless. One of my dad superpowers is the ability to tune out female voices. My wife can confirm this. It has gotten me into trouble over the past 13 years of marriage and 10 years of parenting, but I'm learning to use my powers for good. LOL. When I get home from work there are times all I want is for complete silence, but that's normally not the order of the day. The kids give me space but they often want more so I have to comply. It's not always the easiest but their desire to connect with their "guy" usually overrides my desire for space. I know these moments will pass by quickly and I will wish for them one day. So here are a few ways that I intentionally make sure that I am connecting with them.

Dinner Together-I safeguard my schedule to ensure that I am home to have dinner with entire family at least 3 times out of the week. We're together so much that if I miss dinner at least one of the kids will complain.

High-Low-One of the conversation starters we use is a game called, "High -Low." We each take turns discussing the high points as well as the low points of our day. A lot of times playing this game leads to other conversations as we discover what one another is going through. The main rule of this game is that we make eye contact and keep our devices away from the table. It's great when there are nothing but "highs," but be prepared for the lows. While the lows are uncomfortable and demanding, they are also the times that my daughter needs me the most.

Take Notes-I recently added this one. When my daughter is "spun up" and going on and on and on about something that is important to her-(like zig-zag patterned nail polish that didn't turn out right) that I cannot relate to I stop what I'm doing and listen. Not only do I listen but I give her full eye contact and right after the conversation I make a note on my phone about what we discussed. This is nothing extravagant other than a few bullet points to refer to later. This way if I forget what she said, I have a cheat sheet. Having a daughter means as her dad I have to value what is important to her even I'm not remotely into whatever she's expressing to me. I'm convinced many kids grow up with emotional issues because their parents never actually listened to them. Dads it's never too late to start being intentional about being emotionally connected to your kids. It also helps me when it comes to remembering things so that I can be more thoughtful with  birthday gifts or be more sensitive to what the kids are facing. Hopefully some of these tips will help you keep from saying, "What did you say?" a little less often."

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Compassionate Kids

Finding children that are focused on themselves is pretty easy thing to do. I just saw the most absurd story about a 16 year old who posted videos of himself on YouTube biting into a Tide detergent pod. YouTube removed the video, but immediately posted it to Twitter, When asked why he was so determined to endanger his health just to get this video out, he mentioned he just wanted to get more hits. Social media is filled with kids doing some of the dumbest most dangerous stuff all in the name of SELF.
But what about kids that are looking out for their fellow man? It makes me feel good as a person to see kids being assets to society. Nothing brightens my day like an "end of the newscast" type story about a young child helping someone out. I was recently blown away by my own child doing just that. As we were putting our daughters to bed, my youngest began to cry uncontrollably. I thought at first it was the normal not wanting to go to bed shenanigans that flare up from time to time but I would soon find out this was something out of the norm. My daughter went on to inform us that she was really sad because she keeps thinking about the homeless people who are living outside while the temperatures are freezing cold. She went to say that she wanted to do something for them. So the next day, my wife took her to the store to buy supplies to start her homeless handout drive. She picked up bottled water, a hat, a pair of gloves, hand warmers, an applesauce cup, and a pack of tissues. All of these items were spread out on our dining room table so that we could begin the assembly line that would place these items in big freezer bags for the homeless. They were then loaded into the trunk of the car and eventually handed out to random homeless people as we encountered them. Wow! I was totally blown away to think that my 8 year old has that much compassion for a complete stranger. It kind of made me feel like I got something right and that she has been listening to her mother and I as we've tried to teach her about being compassionate towards others like God called us to. It also made me feel good that I gave her the benefit of the doubt that night she cried right before bed. We would've all missed out on an opportunity to do something great for a fellow human being if I'd simply dismissed her. So make sure you're listening and showing empathy towards your kids. You just never know when they're going to blow you away with something amazing.