“What does your daddy want for Christmas?”

I asked a preschooler, “What does your daddy want for Christmas?” She smiled and said, “He wants to buy me a Tinkerbell and an Elsa dress and a Snow Globe Elsa doll, but it’s a secret so don’t tell him”

What is on your Christmas list?

What is on your Christmas list?

It is easy to think of children as greedy during the holiday season. There is a lot of “I want” and “I have to have” type phrases that come from their mouths. We try to share that it is better to give than to receive, but that is a hard concept for young children.

As much as I do a lot of servant oriented learning and helping preschoolers think beyond just themselves, this little girl’s request for her daddy for Christmas just had to make me smile. Fathers in their purest form are altruistic and generous beyond measure. They provide what a child needs without question. They allow a child to form a level of trust that helps them build toward self actualization so that other healthy needs are met. Without a foundation of trust, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can lead to despair and depression all through adulthood.

A child who can trust her father and know him well enough that he will provide for her needs is a fortunate child. (Now the difference between needs and wants is a whole other blog entry. What do you really need for Christmas?   🙂 )

For those who celebrate Christmas, we have the opportunity to look at the most generous father in the universe. The creator of the universe is someone who gave the entire world his most prized asset as he sent his son as a baby. Earthly fathers do not always provide every need, but a heavenly father can give without ceasing. Kings love making little girls feel like a princess.

  •  How can we ask for our desires without sounding like we are selfish? (Desires do not have to be kept a secret.)
  • Who do you put your most trust in?
  • What do you think your heavenly father wants to give you for Christmas? 
  • What is something you could offer back in return for your daily gift of life?

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

“Is your daddy big?”

I sat by three preschoolers and asked them, “Is your Daddy big?” The first child said,  “My daddy is big enough to touch the basketball hoop.” Another child said, “My daddy is big enough to touch the ceiling fan, but mommy doesn’t like that.” The last boy shared, “My daddy does not touch tall stuff, but he has a heart big enough to love me and my mommy.”

My daddy has a big heart.

My daddy has a big heart.

All people have some opinion about how big their father is and what influence they will allow their father to have. Some carry wonderful loving memories. Some carry hurtful often bitter memories of what could and should have been. Others have no memories at all and wonder what it would be like to have a fond memory of a dad coming home and playing with them. The quantity or quality of our memories does not have to define our happiness.

All fathers are bigger than their children. All children are born small and need to look up to see their father. Tonight in America, 40% of the children will go to sleep in homes in which their father does not live. Never in America’s history have so many children grown up not knowing what it means to have a father. Never have we needed fathers more and seen them less.

The best fathers have the biggest hearts. The best children take the good from those hearts and let it multiply into their own lives. We may all want to have the best car, but that is not reality. Reality is we often have a car with a little dent, a spot of rust, something that needs fixing, yet we can be grateful we can have transportation. No one needs “the best” to be happy.

If you are a father reading this, know right now you will never be “the best” father, but you certainly can share a loving heart and strive for being a father who makes a positive difference. Celebrate this Father’s Day with renewed strength to show how big your heart is. Try not to scare anyone by getting hurt in a ceiling fan.

If you are a child of any age reading this, know right now you have or had a father with flaws, but that does not have to ever keep you from enjoying your day today. You own your today, and it is up to you to use your own heart to share with others. You are able to take any good from your father and combine it with any other ingredients you want and create the you you want to be. Your father may have started your creation, but you get to finish it. There is great power in that recipe.

  • If you could tell your father one thing today, what would it be?
  • Is your heart big enough to let go of any negative thought about fathers and look only at the good?
  • Will you take the time today to look for a father that may need encouraging and offer what you can?

“When one has not had a good father, one must create one.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Happy Father’s Day to all the Daddies out there. No matter how big and tall you are, people can always look up to you.

 

“Can you buy daddy glasses for his birthday?”

A preschooler asked her mother, “Can you buy daddy glasses for his birthday?” The mother asked why he thought his daddy needed glasses. He said, “Every time I ask Daddy to play a game with me, he says, ‘We’ll see.’ I know I can see the games just fine, but Daddy must not see them because we never play them!”

Do YOU need glasses?

Do YOU need glasses?

Sometimes fathers get busy and do not take the time to really go into a child’s world. A child is wired for fun and play. Adults used to have that wiring but somehow life can short-circuit fun and games and replace it with work and more work. However, we really need to work hard to play.

Dad’s often play differently than moms, and that is okay. Dad’s can have a hard time playing “house” with a little girl. “House” has no rules. There is no winner. There is no way to even know when the play will end. Board games can also be hard as dads don’t like to let others win but also do not like to deal with a crying child who lost to a competitive father. Dads can feel ill-equipped to deal with a young child that is always a few steps away from a temper tantrum.

There is great news for fathers that has recently been grounded in research. One thing that most fathers are good at is chasing their children around and getting them all excited. Mothers are quick to say, “Settle down. Someone’s going to get hurt!”, but research is telling us dads are onto something important. Click here to see how Dad’s roughhousing helps early development. The study tied to this link suggests that rough and tumble play helps a young child’s brain develop the ability to manage emotions. When I was young, my father would come home from work, and I would request P.T. No, I did not need physical therapy. I needed something more important – Play Time! My dad would swing me by my arms in circles, and he  would let me crawl up his tall body so that I could flip over and land on my feet. He would throw me up in the air and catch me. I loved P.T.. I played board games with my mother, but I had P.T. with my father.

My dad never took an early childhood class. He was not an educator. He did not read child development books. He also did not wear glasses. He worked hard each day, but somehow knew that play was important. Children need moms and dads that can play. I think if they had more P.T. they just may need less Mental Therapy as they get older.

  • What do you remember playing with your father?
  • What was the last thing you remember playing with a child?
  • What are the games that a child would like to play with you?
  • What can you do when you feel there really is no time in the day to play?
  • When in your day do you need to wear glasses to have a clearer perspective?

“You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Plato