Dads and the Power of Smell (See Video)

 

Happy Father’s Day!

Earlier this week, I sat down and recorded a few minutes of video to encourage you. The basic message is probably not something you want to hear on Father’s Day: “Hey, dad. You stink!” But in this case, that’s a good thing!

I talk about a few examples in this short video:

 

I know some dads give off aromas that no one should have to share or remember—and talking about smells at all might be risky. But I know that just as you remember how your dad smelled, you can leave your own powerful and lasting impressions by letting your kids be close to you—close enough to take in the feel of your cheek and yes, even your smell.

This was confirmed by something a dad wrote as part of our Father of the Year Contest. Check out his words:

Tell [your children] they are loved. Hold them close; let them know what you smell like. I listened to my wife describe what she liked about me when we met. She said I smelled like her dad working around the farm when she was growing up. [And] that brought back good memories for her. I hear my daughter say the same things. When I’ve put in a long day and I think I smell my worst, my daughter still hugs me.

Isn’t that amazing? This man’s wife was affected that strongly by how he smelled when they were dating, because she had good memories associated with the way her dad smelled. Even our smell as dads has a powerful and lasting effect on our children.

how to be a father 6-14I’m not saying you should avoid the shower or anything; make sure you aren’t torturing anyone. But don’t hesitate to hug on your kids just because it’s been a long day or you’ve been working outside.

So there’s your action point for the day—or maybe the month. Keep pulling your kids close. They probably won’t show it, but they really do thrive on your bear hugs, your squeezes on the shoulder, your physical touch. Children have a profound need for physical contact with their dads. Their self-esteem blossoms when we nurture them appropriately.

At Father’s Day, I can’t help thinking second about the millions of boys and girls who never get a hug from their father. Don’t take those opportunities for granted. Pull your kids nice and close.

Do you have specific memories of your dad that are associated with a smell? I’d love to see them—and I’m sure other dads would, too. Please leave a comment either below or on our Facebook page.

Action Points for Dads on the Journey

  • Be intentional about physical affection with your children. Hug and kiss them; hold them in your arms; include lots of loving physical contact as you interact and play together. Put your arm on their shoulder. Start a good tickle fight.
  • Ask your kids to suggest a cologne they like that you could start wearing—or go shopping with them to find one.
  • On Father’s Day, encourage and bless your children based on their unique interests, activities, and accomplishments. Here are some more specific ideas for how to do that from our friend, blogger Clark Smith.
  • Make Father’s Day a time to recommit yourself to being the father your children need. We’re here to help! Get our free ebook on meeting your children’s needs—or my book, Championship Fathering.
  • Be sure to honor your dad (or another father figure in your life) this weekend. Recognizing him as a good role model; thank him for his work ethic; mention memories from your childhood. If you can, tell him, “I love you.”

 

Carey CaseyCarey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers who to make the Championship Fathering Commitment. NCF believes that every child needs a dad they can count on, and uses its resources to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need. Subscribe to his weekly email tip by clicking here: “Yes! I want tips on how to be a great dad who loves, coaches, mentors, and inspires my children.

Dad, Start a New Habit, Like One-on-one Time

 

I have a Father’s Day challenge for you this week. (I’m giving you some lead time to think about how you can apply it.)

Here it is: Start one new habit that will make a difference with your family.

Think about one change you can make that will benefit your children or bring you closer to them, and then let Father’s Day be a time when you make a strong resolution to be that dad going forward.

Let me give you one example of the power this can have. This comes from a dad and granddad named Gary who read the guest blog from a few weeks back about dating your daughter, and he sent us this story.

It started two decades ago, when Gary attended a fathering seminar presented by our founder, Dr. Ken Canfield. After the seminar, Gary was inspired to start a new habit with his two kids: regular one-on-one lunch dates with his daughter and his son at least once a month. Through the years, he was faithful with those monthly lunch dates—not perfect, but he kept them going.

How to Be a Better Father Start a New Habit Like One-on-one TimeNow, I know that’s nothing earth-shattering or over-the-top creative, but it’s a great idea, and one you might want to try. One-on-one time is extremely valuable in a world that’s getting way too busy—for dads and kids. The two of you get a chance to escape the frenzy of life and talk about anything from serious to silly. If you’re a man of faith, maybe you would want to include a prayer for your child and his or her future.

I think you’ll find that your child will look forward to that time with you. Kids open up more and relate differently when it’s just the two of you. It doesn’t have to break the budget either. On a nice day, a brown bag lunch in the park is a great option. (See the Action Points below for more specific suggestions.)

To finish Gary’s story, his kids are now in their early thirties. His daughter is married and has two children of her own, and they still live nearby, so Gary still has a regular “lunch date” with her.

And that’s cool, but you know what’s even better? Gary’s daughter’s husband is doing it, too! Inspired by his father-in-law, he takes his 7-year-old daughter out to lunch on Saturdays.

And not long ago, Gary’s son and his bride had their first child, a baby boy. Already this new dad is talking about starting a “lunch time” with his son—just like Gary did for all those years and still does today.

This is the kind of thing I get excited about, because I believe this is an example of how, little by little, Championship Fathering will change the world for the better. Simple, everyday acts of love and commitment really make a difference in your family.

So, what habit can you start as a father this year that could become a pattern, a way of life, and maybe even be carried on in the next generation? Or maybe you’re already doing something that could inspire other dads. Please let us (and other dads) know by leaving a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Action Points for Dads on the Journey

  • Schedule these regular one-on-one times with your child. Don’t let your good intentions fall to the side when other, supposedly more urgent matters come along.
  • Lunch works great with most girls and some boys, but often boys communicate better “sideways”—when they’re next to you while doing an activity. So consider making that part of your regular time together.
  • Whatever your one-on-one time looks like with your child, think about doing it somewhere other than home. Changing the setting can help your child relax and open up more.
  • If necessary—like with teenagers—fit into their schedule. If lunch doesn’t work, do an early breakfast or late-night ice cream run.
  • Even if you don’t spend much (or any) money on these outings, find ways to make them special, so your child looks forward to it each time.

 

Carey CaseyCarey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers who to make the Championship Fathering Commitment. NCF believes that every child needs a dad they can count on, and uses its resources to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need. Subscribe to his weekly email tip by clicking here: “Yes! I want tips on how to be a great dad who loves, coaches, mentors, and inspires my children.

Being a Committed Dad is “Far Past Amazing”

 

Here at the Center, we consider it “Father’s Day season” as soon as Mother’s Day is over. Among other things, our staff is finishing up interviews with dads and making arrangements for celebration events in several areas of the country related to our Father of the Year Essay Contests.

These contests give kids opportunities to write about their dads, and we’re always amazed at the remarkable, heartfelt things they write. We probably don’t pass along the great essays often enough.

So, even though we’re still a month out from Father’s Day, I want to share one girl’s essay to help you start getting in the right frame of mind—not so you can swell up with pride, but so you can make this “season” a time to recommit yourself to be the father your children really need.

How to be a good dadAs you might know, our purpose is to inspire and equip dads. But I’ll tell you up front, this week is pure inspiration. I think you’ll agree.

In this essay, a 6th grader named Abigail does a wonderful job of capturing the love and appreciation kids feel for their dads, like what your child surely feels for you.

So, just soak this in today. Abigail writes:

My dad makes me feel loved. I can always count on my dad. He makes me laugh so hard…. Most of the time, my dad’s actions speak louder than life.

My dad is a short, stubby man, but his smile goes from the east to the west. He makes really, really bad jokes, but we always laugh. He acts sometimes, [imitates] singers, and even tries to dance. But he makes his imitations really bad on purpose to make us laugh. He laughs at things I say even if they’re not meant to be funny. That makes me laugh.

My dad has all the qualities of a great guy. He’s so truthful, honorable, and trustworthy. I can always count on him. He even understands what I’m talking about most of the time.

My dad sees everyone for who they are. He won’t judge people but always learns their personalities first. He helps people he doesn’t know, and he’s always nice to strangers. My dad is kind and always helpful.

My dad is awesome, fantastic, and phenomenal. I love my dad. He’s far from perfect, but far past amazing.

Now, after reading this, I was humbled as a dad. And two things came to mind that challenged me:

First, it reminded me that our kids are always watching us. They see the good and the not-so-good in our lives. They know we’re far from perfect. And we never know what will register in their minds as significant or even life-changing. That’s the power and the great responsibility of our modeling.

And second, I hope this draws out the best in you as a dad, like it does in me. Like Abigail’s dad, we make a difference when we make our kids laugh, show kindness to people, and prove ourselves to be trustworthy. Our general disposition has a powerful effect on our children—whether they are tiny infants or teens whom we may have to look up to. Be a joyful father, and let it show!

Fatherhood is a high calling, and something to live up to. I hope you’ll find ways to be “far past amazing” for your kids today.

Action Points for Dads on the Journey

  • Do something crazy to have fun with your kids and make them laugh. Do karaoke. Start a water fight, or a pillow fight, or a food fight! Play dress up. Have a whistling contest after eating saltine crackers. Use your own idea. (Then let us know how it went.)
  • Write an essay about how much you appreciate each of your children, and show it to them (or save it for Father’s Day).
  • What would your children say is your biggest weakness as a dad? (If you don’t know, ask them!) Be intentional about working on that area during the next month … and beyond.
  • How do you treat restaurant servers and other people in service positions during day-to-day interactions? Remember, your children are always watching and learning.
  • Come up with a “Father’s Day wish list” that includes a lot of activities with family and gifts of time—along with or instead of expensive gadgets.

What challenges you about this essay? Or, when have you been inspired or challenged as a dad because of something your child said or wrote to you? Please let us (and other dads) know by leaving a comment below or on our Facebook page.

 

Carey CaseyCarey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers who to make the Championship Fathering Commitment. NCF believes that every child needs a dad they can count on, and uses its resources to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need. Subscribe to his weekly email tip by clicking here: “Yes! I want tips on how to be a great dad who loves, coaches, mentors, and inspires my children.

Everyday Heroes: Great Dads Shine in Tough Circumstances

 

Aimee Copeland is a 24-year-old from Georgia who’s in the news because of a rare flesh-eating disease which she contracted after cutting her leg in a zip-lining accident earlier this month. Despite losing her leg, both hands and her other foot, she has shown tremendous courage. Her story was all over the Internet for a few days.

My heart also goes out to her father, who is posting regular updates on his Facebook page. Andy Copeland wrote about his reaction when his daughter received the news from doctors about the necessary amputations. He wrote, “I wasn’t crying because Aimee was going to lose her hands and foot, I was crying because in all my 53 years of existence, I have never seen such a strong display of courage. I was crying because I am a proud father of an incredibly courageous young lady.”

During this second week of honoring everyday heroes as we look forward to Father’s Day, I have to mention dads like Andy who demonstrate the true heart of fatherhood. They face challenges that most of us can barely imagine, and yet they persevere and serve their families with selflessness and unwavering dedication.

That description also fits Rolf, another inspiring example of a father who continues to lead his family in the face of uncertainty. Rolf and his wife have four children, and he has a father’s heart for all of them. The older three are healthy and thriving and keeping them busy. The fourth one, Rudy, is thriving in his own way, but has a rare heart condition that continues to threaten his life. He wasn’t supposed to live as long as he has, so Rolf truly doesn’t know what tomorrow will bring for his son.

Each day, caring for Rudy involves many extra procedures he and his wife have had to learn, with regular trips to various specialists mixed in. It’s physically draining, a financial burden … and then when things slow down, there are emotional struggles I can’t claim to understand.

I can only imagine how it must feel to be willing to do anything for your child, even give up your own life, but surrender to the fact that ultimately his or her fate is out of your control.

Dads, the heart of fathering really comes out when you’re facing something difficult like this.

So as we look forward to Father’s Day, I want to honor Rolf and many other dads who are in a similar situation. Maybe you have a child with cancer or some other chronic illness. Maybe your child has special needs or a disability that makes life very difficult. Maybe your child’s challenges are emotional, or you’re walking the long journey of loving a “prodigal” child through a string of destructive decisions. Or maybe you’re a non-custodial dad, and your heartache is a result of not being able to see the children you love so much because of a divorce and related legal matters.

Sometimes Championship Fathering comes with a sense of helplessness—and I suppose all dads face some degree of uncertainty. But no matter what your situation, I want to encourage you today. Follow the examples of Rolf and other dads who persevere through fathering trials, and keep doing all you can for your children.

The test of a great dad is not in your area of comfort; it’s how you function when your child isn’t doing well—when crises hit or other “stuff” happens. It may seem overwhelming at times, but don’t lose heart.

Fatherhood is a high calling, and you’re up to it! Your family needs you to be courageous no matter what might come your way.

Please be encouraged by these Action Points.

● Remember, dad, your modeling is huge. Through all the ups and downs, your kids are watching you. So, maintain your poise and carry yourself with dignity through the challenges. Lead your family in a way that helps them come together and rely on each other.

● Do you know a family facing incredible challenges because of illness, a disability, or some other issue? Brainstorm with your children about ways you can help them, even for an afternoon or a day.

● Whenever you encounter some tragedy in the news or anywhere else, talk about it with your children and look for something good—people who helped, or ways people were challenged to grow.

● I believe anything worth its salt is going to be difficult, so don’t be surprised when life brings some challenges. Raising faithful and responsible kids is worth the heartache.

● How have you grown stronger, or what insights have you gained because of hard things you’ve gone through as a father? Share those insights with another dad you know—in person, in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.

 

Carey CaseyCarey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers who to make the Championship Fathering Commitment. NCF believes that every child needs a dad they can count on, and uses its resources to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need. Subscribe to his weekly email tip by clicking here: “Yes! I want tips on how to be a great dad who loves, coaches, mentors, and inspires my children.