My grandson James is four months old. I like to read the Bible to him, take walks with him around the yard, and sing to him. And every time I see him, I greet him the same way—by picking him up and saying, “Grandpa’s here!”
James doesn’t talk yet, so he can’t respond to me with words. If he’s wide awake, I can get him to smile or giggle. But I know that “Grandpa’s here” will have an important impact. It illustrates one of the best things dads and grandfathers can be for their kids and grandkids: present. I often say that the best present a dad can give to his child is to be present. Here’s how.
Be what your kids really need you to be.
Dads can and should be providers and protectors. We should teach our kids, discipline our kids, and be a good role model. But sometimes, all dads need to be is there. Your kids don’t always need gifts from you, or for you to plan out and execute an elaborate bonding experience.
Sometimes they just need you to pay attention when they talk to you. They need you to let them sit around with you. They need you to witness and validate their pain when they’re having a hard day. Your presence communicates that your kids are important to you. It prepares them to be available to their own families when they grow up. And it’s one of the best gifts you can give them.
Join or start an All Pro Dad chapter.
If a dad is not actively involved in his child’s life, his child is twice as likely to fail school or drop out. His child is likely to be 54 percent poorer than he is. His child is seven times more likely to get pregnant as a teenager. And odds are better that his child will wind up behind bars.
This is why we founded All Pro Dad, an organization designed to help dads lead and love their families well. All Pro Dad involves dads in their children’s lives by offering opportunities for dads to be present to their kids and to connect with their kids on a regular basis through All Pro Dad Chapters, which meet at schools throughout the country. Currently, we have 1,418 chapters in 44 states. At chapter meetings, dads and kids spend quality time together. Find a chapter here or click here to start your own.