My daughter has a new favorite question, “Can you show me how to do that?” I love this question and not just because it has replaced the infamous and repeated “Why” question. As a former teacher and parent, I love teaching my kids. I am happy to instruct with learning those everyday skills, like how to blow a runny nose into a tissue and how to fly a kite. Or the character building skills, like saying please and thank you or how to be a good sport. I also inform her about the real important things, like which Star Wars movies are the best (hint: they all include an adult Luke Skywalker).
While I derive great pleasure from being able to help my daughter maneuver through life’s obstacles, that has not made the biggest impact on me. Rather, it is the simple things she has taught me about life.
To Show My Silly Side in Public: Before my daughter came along, I displayed an image of calm and sometimes aloof. That has all changed. I love making my daughter laugh and if being silly is the only way I can do that, then I will be silly, goofy, funny, not funny but trying to be funny, or wacky. And I will do all this and more in public, with eyes watching and wondering. I no longer care what other people think about me, only what my daughter thinks.
To Dream Big: When did my dreams become so small? That has all changed. If my daughter can grow up to be an occupational therapist, a doctor, and a mother, then why can’t I do more?
Not To Sweat the Small Stuff: Who cares about my team’s record, what other people say about me, or the dirty dishes. I have a family that loves me, a job, a house and, did I mention, a family that loves me.
To Give to Others Freely: What an amazing gifted spirit my daughter has. She is so willing to give her toys and book to others in need. We do not even need to prompt her. She just says “I could give them some of my toys.” In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5: 16.
Patience: I am an impatient man and never realized it until my daughter was old enough to get mad at me for being so impatient. I like to explain myself once and I do not like it have to wait around. Now, I think I have relaxed- a little. A kid will do that to you.
Wonder: “Wow, Dad, did you know that when you mix blue with yellow, it makes green?” To see the amazement in her eyes is why I love being a father. I remember being so excited watching a caterpillar walk across a branch with my daughter; we stood there for 10 minutes and it moved maybe an inch.
Forgiveness: Why is it that my daughter can forgive so quickly, so easily? I don’t know if I always had a difficult time forgiving or if I learned not to as I grew older. I see now how she never stays mad at anyone. I think to myself, “I need to be more like my daughter.” For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14
The Best Stories Have No Point: I am biased, but she tells the best stories. She gets all excited and builds up the suspense, then the story stops. I look at her for a moment, waiting, wondering where the story goes next, but it never does. I laugh because I still love the story.
Give more Hugs: My daughter is a hugger. I am not. Is it a guy thing? Maybe it is me. Doesn’t matter, she hugs me, I hug her. Then I find myself hugging others.
Unconditional Love: That feeling when you hold your baby for the first time; everything changes. My love for my daughter is like no other. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7 My love for my daughter, is like no other love I’ve known.
I am so thankful for all that my daughter has taught me and look forward to the new things she will show me. What has your child taught you about life?
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