I'm enjoying this regular place to recollect and give him some overdue thanks and think about ways that my parenting (and maybe yours) could be enriched by looking at how my Dad parents. Needless to say, I've been thinking back a bunch lately, remembering old times and recalling facts from days gone by. I keep being reminding that my Dad has always been quick to laugh, and I'm thankful for that. He isn't a silly guy when it's time to be serious, but he has always taught us how to laugh. Dad doesn't teach in lectures, but he shows his lessons over time by the way he lives. As time goes by, I grow more and more thankful for every occasion to laugh - don't you?
Finding the joy in moments is such a gift, and I realize now that Dad has been showing us how to do that for years. We did a lot of laughing as kids, and we do a lot of it now. There were certainly plenty of serious times when laughing wasn't appropriate, but I'm thinking back about the many ways that Dad creates opportunities to laugh, both at life and at ourselves. I'm thankful.
So, today I give you these tips on parenting from the 'how my Dad does it' playbook:
- Laugh at yourself whenever you can. It's good for kids to see that parents goof up and it's awesome when they see us being okay with it.
- Make up a ridiculous language with nothing at all decipherable and speak it with your children often. The crazier, the better, so go for it. If you can also do strange things with your eyebrows, it's even better. As you speak this malarky, your child learns about the magic of imagination and sees, too, that having fun with him or her is always more fun than just about everything else!
- Make up silly stories and crazy words and far-fetched tall tales. It's fun, makes everyone giggle and creates learning and trust out of fun moments.
- Take winning and losing with lightness and ease. Laughing about doing absolutely horrible in a card game is an invaluable lesson for your child.
- Be willing to hear, revel in and laugh at your children's stories again and again and again. It tells them over and over how very important they are and teaches them about speaking their mind and getting their point across.
- Call your children by the silliest names, even if it's only the two of you that get it. Having a pet name says I love you and I love laughing with you.
I'm thankful for laughing in this crazy, mixed-up world, and I'm thankful for a Dad who is still laughing with me!