Monday, December 13, 2010

A Hands-on Dad

I couldn't help noticing, in the past few weeks, how many dads nowadays are more "hands-on" in their parenting. Take, for instance, the young dad helping his son pick out a greeting card. Squatting down to his level, he allowed him to pick the cards he liked best. Five minutes and ten cards later, he finaly said, "I like *this* one," and they walked hand in hand to the register to buy it.

And what about the dad who made sitting in the shopping cart FUN so he could corral the kids and his wife could shop in peace? He had them smiling and fully entertained, happy to have his undivided attention. I thought, "Now there goes a real man ... and a grateful mom!"

Perhaps the most vivid illustration of hands-on fathering was while visiting our son and his family over Thanksgiving weekend. Jason, at 28, stays fully involved in the parenting process ... from feeding, diapering, babysitting, and picking up baby food and diapers on the way home.

My favorite was their interaction after time apart. Our son's big hands encircle Jason Cody's waist and lift him up to look him in the eye. In a manly growl, our son greets his son ... "Hey, little buddy..." to which our grandson replies in his own baby growl, "Dad-deeee!"

After supper they would play hide and seek, toss the ball, ride the rocking-horse and then, after kisses all around, it was off to bath to splash and play with tub toys. Back downstairs again, it was snack time and then story books.

When Jason Cody's eyes began to droop, our son handed him over to Kerry, who took him up to bed. What a joy to watch them share the joys and responsibilities of child-rearing!

Dads today are encouraged to get more involved with their children. I believe hands-on parenting from a loving, committed father produces confidence in children. They are not only interacting with someone who loves them, they are gaining valuable insight into what good parenting is all about.

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