by Dr. Ken Canfield
Who won the Tour de France in 1989?
Isn’t it amazing how much information we men commit to memory?
For example: The specs for the latest iPhone or Corvette. Or stats and records for Mike Trout, Tom Brady or Stephen Curry. Or maybe you know all the Easter eggs hidden in the Star Wars or Marvel movies. How many song lyrics do you remember from twenty years ago?
You’re probably also gathering and storing knowledge that has some real, useful value. For example, the views of your state representative, the status of your IRA, the value of houses in your neighborhood, passwords for your various accounts, and relevant facts and figures you use regularly for your job. Some of us could easily do an hour-long lecture on some of these topics.
Many of us know about these kinds of subjects because we spend time and effort acquiring that knowledge. Maybe we do it because it interests us or it’s a hobby, or maybe we know the information will benefit us in some way.
But what about our children? Can we answer even simple questions about them, who are as important to us as anyone or anything in our lives? Do we spend the time and make the effort to really know them well?
Let’s look at some questions about your children.
Some of these may be easy, but others likely won’t be. But this isn’t just trivia; these questions provide a good marker for how aware you are of your child and his world. And a healthy awareness will help you in so many other areas of your fathering.
So, dad, reflect on each of these for a bit:
- Who is your child’s all-time hero?
- What is your child’s most prized possession?
- Who’s his/her best friend?
- What causes your child to lose sleep?
- What were your child’s greatest achievements and disappointments in the last year?
- What is your child’s favorite meal?
- What would your child like to do when she grows up? (Dad, that’s not what you want, but what she wants.)
- If your child had $20 to spend, what would he or she buy?
- What does your child most like to do with you?
- The last time your child prayed about something, how did God answer?
- What’s the most important thing you need to discuss with your child in the next six months?
Even for most aware fathers, these questions should serve as a wake-up call.
Maybe you need to sit down with your child and find out more about what makes him tick. It could lead to a great discussion about who he is and who he hopes to become.
Use our self-scoring profile on KNOWING YOUR CHILD.
It will help you work through how well you do in this area, and includes more questions for reflection & discussion.
Action Points and Questions for Reflection & Discussion
- What kinds of everyday information do you commit to memory?
- Make a conscious effort to put away your phone and other screens whenever you’re interacting with your child.
- The questions above are just a start. Come up with many more to ask you child as you seek to know him or her better.
- Find a book or other resource with discussion questions for you and your kids … like this one for dads and daughters.