Dad, I know you’d do just about anything for your kids. But would you wear anything?
The other day in our offices, I was talking with another dad on our staff, just catching up on things, when I noticed his socks. They were on the wild side, and didn’t really match the rest of his clothes that day.
Then I took a closer look. Oh, they’re Superman socks. What? What’s the story there?
Well, it turns out that he has a young son who’s going through that stage where superheroes are the coolest thing. The boy is really into Superman and Batman, and his dad was wearing those socks simply because he knew it would amuse his son. It was one more way to connect.
Another dad I know is big into cycling, and he found out that his daughter’s first name was also the name of an Italian racing team from about thirty years ago. So he went online and sure enough, the jerseys were still available, so he bought one. Sometimes when he’s getting geared up for a ride, he’ll come downstairs with that jersey on—featuring his daughter’s name printed boldly across the chest. And she smiles. Or when he’s wearing a different jersey, sometimes she’ll say, “You need to wear my shirt.”
Maybe you do something similar. You have matching T-shirts from a place you visited with your son. Or maybe a necktie or coffee mug or golf towel that your daughter gave you as a gift. A baseball jersey, golf shirt or even the same WATCH D.O.G.S. T-shirt you wore when you volunteered at the school.
I would urge you to keep wearing and using those things—even if they clash with your outfit or seem a little silly. More than looking a certain way, it’s a small way of sending some valuable messages to your child…
Like: “I’m tracking with you. I’m noticing who you are and what you like.”
It also communicates, “You’re special to me. I enjoy being your dad and letting people know that I am your dad. We have a strong connection that I’m proud of.”
When your son or daughter heads off to college, give a hint that you’d love a sweatshirt or tee with the name of their school. The bolder, the better.
So, dad, go ahead and rock those socks, neckties, shirts and accessories. Do it loud and proud. Those moments of connection with your child are worth it—even if you get a few double-takes when you’re out and about. Any looks of surprise will quickly be replaced by smiles when people see that you’re just showing your commitment to your kids.
And even if your child isn’t there to see you wearing or using that item, it’s still a great reminder for you about what’s important and how much you’re devoted to your kids.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve worn or used because you’re a proud dad? Do you have a piece of clothing that’s special for you and your child? Share your experiences and ideas either below or on our Facebook page.
Action Points for Dads on the Fathering Journey
- Wear those clothes or use those items that are special between you and your child, or that your child gave you as a gift. Watch for how he/she reacts.
- If you haven’t already, post photos of your kids and/or their artwork at your office or shop, your phone and computer screens, wherever they will catch your eye throughout the day.
- Ask your child to teach you about something she enjoys—even if you already know a lot about it.
- For Christmas this year, write a letter of blessing and affirmation to each of your kids. (I’m giving you some time to get it going.) I assure you, that letter will be read and reread, packed to go with them to college, and pulled out of a drawer someday when they are adults.
Carey 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 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 lives out loving, coaching and modeling for my children.
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