Running your home like a submarine captain is a great idea…
…if your house is full of submariners!
Have you seen “The Sound of Music”? It is one of my all-time favorite musicals. In the scene where Captain von Trapp introduces the kids to Maria (Julie Andrews), he uses a whistle to call each of the kids down for muster, like little lederhosen-adorned soldiers. Captain von Trapp is, after all, a submarine captain for the German Navy. I will assume he was a good one. One thing is certain: the man in this story is using his best skill, his greatest strength, to lead his family–his highly-tuned ability to run a tight ship. This is a mistake of the highest order, as the story shows.
Just as you do not use a hammer to serve spaghetti, you do not use a hammer to comfort a child. You use a hammer to drive nails. Likewise, you should not lead your family like you lead your marketing development group at work. You should not train your family like you coach your team nor relate to your kids as if they are employees under your authority. Leave your greatest competence at work. When you get home, take off the way you relate to the outside world and put on your “Daddy Suit.”
Kids are not small adults. They require special attention and they relate to the world differently than you do. They want to know what you love and what you think of important things like bugs, worms, and why the family dog likes to sniff other dogs inappropriately.
Here are ten things you should occasionally do as the Dad of your family:
- Find out your kid’s favorite toy.
- Ask your child what super power he or she would like to have most (only one please).
- Lie on the floor and build a Lego fort or have a tea party with tepid tap water.
- Tell your kids fun stories about yourself when you were their age
- Let your children help you do tasks–working in the yard, folding laundry, etc.–and talk to them the whole time you are working together.
- Read good books to them often. Read cuddled up together (and skip pages at your peril).
- Watch “Little House on the Prairie” together often.
- Watch sunsets together and ask your child why God went to all that trouble. (Answer: He loves us that much.)
- Teach them never to comply if someone asks them to “pull my finger.” Nothing good will ever come of this.
- Let them catch you praying and reading your Bible.
Dad stuff is really fun and great. If you do not make yourself slow down, you will miss a bunch of wonderful experiences with your family. Be a warm, fun Dad and be the Dad your kids will come to with any kind of question.