OK, I know that title sounds a little ostentatious, but based on the feedback I'm getting from my "clients"... it's a justifiable claim! (Granted... it was written on my birthday card... but still...) ;-)
This is a serious question for every dad...
"How do you be a great dad, especially when you don't have a great income?"
Many dads have a tendency to connect their ability to do awesome things with their kids to the size of their income. I am convinced that this is a terribly wrong and harmful way of thinking!
I have an average income... and an above average sized family (eight in our family), and I have learned some ways to take my "dad-game" to the next level on a limited income!
More money is NOT the answer to being an AWESOME dad! It's not that complicated.
The answer is fairly simple... T-I-M-E.
You don't need more "dough" to take it to the next level... you need more "do".
Imagination, not money is what will push your dad-game to the next level!
The limiting factor for most dads is not income... it is imagination!
If imagination is hard for you... welcome to the club! I'm not a tremendously imaginative guy, but I have found some things that work! Here are four ideas that you can use on a limited budget to take your "dad-game" to the next level! It really all comes down to T-I-M-E!
Talk with them at bedtime.
There have been many nights when I have not been home to tuck my kiddos in bed... but my experience has been that bed time is the best time to hear from your child and talk with them! Do you what you can to be present in those last moments of their day!
If your schedule has you out of the house at bedtime... find SOMETIME to talk with them. (This article has some ideas on how to get it done, and this article says we're doing better than we used to. Also, check out these instructions from Moses to parents... good ideas here!)
Initiate some mischief (but NOT at bedtime).
Fun must be had and can be cheap! Dad, use your imagination and create some ways to stir up "trouble"! Need some help? Here are some ideas...
Go to the store and get some Nerf guns (here are TWENTY ideas of things you can do with Nerf guns!)! You'd be surprised how much cheap fun can be had with Nerf guns... and girls like it too! My six girls have shot and been shot by a lot of Nerf darts!
Wrestle with your kids... and yes... WRESTLE WITH YOUR DAUGHTERS! (Check out this article that makes the case for wrestling.)
Play "Truth or Dare"... yep, that's fun with little kids!
Make eye contact when you talk with your kids.
A long time ago, a friend told me to "look your kids in the eye when you talk to them." Since that point I have made an effort to squat, sit, or lift them to eye level so that we are talking together! This makes them feel like I am talking WITH them rather than AT them! Here's a simple article that explains and visualizes the impact this has on your kids!
This simple trick costs NOTHING and adds INCREDIBLE value to the conversations you have with your kids!
Enlist your friends!
Believe it or not, one of the best things you can do for your kids is to "widen the circle." We learned this concept from the book "Parenting Beyond Your Capacity" (another book on our Recommended Reading list).
In this book, Joiner and Nieuwhof write, "A time will come when you and your children will need another adult in their lives besides you." WHOA!!! Powerful... and true!!! For us it's been people like Kim, Josh, Corey, Rebekah, Fran... and a host of other people who have encouraged, taught, laughed with, and taken a special liking to each of our kids.
You will have friends who like things that your kids like... so connect them! If you don't like "artsy" stuff, but you have a friend who does... connect them with your child!
Joiner and Nieuwhof say, "Choose to be more concerned about what your kids need as your children than about how you look as a parent."
There you go! Four cost-effective ways to take your "dad-game" to the next level!
If you're interested in Parenting Beyond Your Capacity, then click on this picture and you can pick it up on Amazon!!
Remember dad (and mom) great parenting is NOT connected to your income... it's connected to your imagination... and you can do that!!!