It’s true: Being a dad changes you in 792 ways.
OK, I made that number up. But my point stands: Having children is the most transformative experience I’ve ever known. As I write this blog post, for example, I’m getting…a little…choked…up…as I ponder the significance of my two young daughters in my life, and the significance of my life in theirs. Pre-kids, I shed nary a tear when Old Yeller and E.T. kicked the bucket.
Father’s Day brings it all home. On one hand, it’s a day that doesn’t even exist for men until they become dads. On the other, the day’s emphasis on dads’ domestic roles — as breadwinners, caregivers, role-models, spider eradicators, the list goes on — highlights the gravity of fatherhood.
If I’ve learned anything in the eight years since Ava arrived (on Dec. 25!), it’s that the most important part of being a dad is being there. Being there to bond with your kids. Being there to play with them. Being there to show them right from wrong. And being there to show them how to have healthy relationships and healthy lives.
On that note, being there means more than physical presence. You have to be mentally present — that is, not constantly distracted by texts or work or meerkat videos — and you have to look after yourself. I admit it: Playing with my girls can be physically demanding, especially when a horsey-ride marathon is called for. In short, there’s being there, and then there’s making the most of being there.
That’s one of the messages at the heart of the “Insanely Fun Father’s Day Guide” from the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation. All of the suggested activities, from kayaking and tree-planting to kite-flying and kabob mastery, parlay time together with healthy family fun.
Heck, there’s no reason you can’t fit two or three — or if you’re feeling ambitious, all — of the guide’s nine ideas into Father’s Day. Sign up to receive the free ebook, and you’ll see how making the most of being there can be a blast for everyone involved. And if you have other ideas for Father’s Day fun, go right ahead and share them in the comments below.
Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two. His award-winning stories have appeared in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines like Explore, Reader’s Digest, International Traveller and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN, MSN Canada, and DontChangeMuch.ca. Visit Adam’s website for more details on his award winning work.