Yesterday it snowed for the first time this season in Montreal.
Like most Sunday mornings, my wife, dog and I were out for our usual walk along the Lachine Canal to our favourite coffee shop. When the snow started to turn to rain, we grabbed a bench under cover outside to drink our coffee and watch the morning develop.
Soon, the sun burst beautifully through the snow/rain clouds. More and more people started to emerge to do what had to be done this Sunday.
First to cross our outdoor observation post was a father who had obviously been tasked with taking his kids for a walk. From our viewpoint, he looked like he wasn’t enjoying the task at all. Perhaps preoccupied with his job or just simply not liking the weather, he trudged ahead of what looked to be a seven year old daughter and five year old son. The two kids nattered away and jumped and slid on whatever remaining snow they could find. If they fell behind their marching Daddy, the older sister dragged her brother back into lockstep. Something she was probably used to doing.
We finished our coffee, got up and rounded the corner to the sound of squeals and laughter – both kids and adults. The source of this fun was two young kids chasing their Dad around some benches outside the local library. Snowballs were involved. Dad would tease them then run just far enough away that their mini snowballs could hit him and cause what looked to be serious (faked) pain on his part. Meanwhile Mom followed along behind on their way to the library.
Guess which Dad got a “good job” tap on the shoulder as I passed by.
Happy kids need engaged, big kid fathers. Be the clown of the family in whatever ridiculous way you can. Especially on the weekends when there is time for fun, no school to attend and work can wait. It is a building block of family and child development to explore, learn and laugh together. If fathers take the time and make the effort to simply play with their children as much as possible in the first 8-10 years of their kids lives, the rewards will last a lifetime.
Which Dad are you going to be?