Recently I was asked for some parenting advice. I really don't consider myself a great dad. I still loose my temper and often regret things that I say or yell at my kids! However, I do have some great kids, so my wife and I must have done something right along the way. When asked I could only come up with one piece of advice:
So my advice is = Spend as much of your free time with your kids as you can!
It's really that simple. No matter what you are doing in your life, try to take you kids with you and involve them in as much of your life as you can. Just be present and involved. We will all make mistakes along the way, but as long as we're spending time with our kids and involved, we still have opportunities to be a positive influence in our kid's lives.
Going to help you brother build a fence? Then take your son with you and let him drive the lawn mower and cart around, and help you!
Take your kids with you!
When I was young my dad often took me fishing. When my kids were old enough, I took my kids fishing too. As a Dad taking your kids fishing can really turn into a lot of work, but I still took them fishing with me when I had the time.
Going on Vacation = Take your Kids
Starting a Business with my Kids
5 years ago my kids wanted to start a curbside recycling business to earn some spending money. My kids hung flyers around the neighborhood and we started with 5 customers. This Christmas we hope to break the 300 customer mark! Recently we had our first business meeting in a real conference room. It's turning into a way to help them pay for college.
I'm not going to lie, I've spend a lot of my free time (and my money) working on this business with the kids. Up until this year, I've spend every Saturday driving my kids around and helping them collect recycling. We started in my little pickup truck. Now we have a bigger truck and a trailer. I haven't had much time for hobbies, but I wouldn't trade it. Every Saturday one of the kids was stuck in the truck with me and was forced to have a conversation with me. Some of my best Father/Son and Father/Daughter conversations have been while we were riding along in the truck and working together! Often times, this is the only time during the week that I really talk to my busy teenagers.
I've given a large amount of my free time over the years to the kids, and the business, and it has paid off in so many ways. I've taught my kids how to manage their money. I've shown them the basics of business. We talked our way through many situations that teenagers find themselves facing. I've had the opportunity to listen to my kids, and offer advice at times. All because I have given them my time!