Q: What’s a good New Year’s resolution for me to have as a dad?
Oh, hey. Happy New Year, everyone! Now, do you want one really good resolution or a Top Ten list of pretty OK ones? Let’s go with the latter. From the Ask A Dad Inc. home offices in Omemee, N.D., your Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions for Dads.
10. Keep the kids happy and content for a whole year’s time. Good luck. Just this week, my daughter was upset that the dog has brown eyes instead of blue, and the son was crying because he didn’t have enough ketchup for his Cheerios. But make a challenge out of it. See if you can keep them from having a weird tantrum over nothing for a full week, or maybe 12 minutes. Can you make it 12 minutes?
9. Make healthy meal choices, for yourself and your kids. No McDonald’s for a year! (Unless, of course, McDonald’s is a sponsor of Prairie Parent, in which case I encourage you to take the kids there for a Happy Meal and/or salad twice per week. Those things are surprisingly nutritious, and so, so affordable.)
8. FAMILY FUN NIGHT. EVERY NIGHT. GO WILD.
7. Limit electronics. See how low you can go. No video games, tablets, laptops, smart watches, talking toilets and/or those fridges that have TVs in the doors for a whole year. Talk to each other! Or at least look at each other! But not in an uncomfortable way! As an introvert, I have trouble making eye contact with people, and my iPhone has made the problem way worse, personally. So I’ve just been staring my two kids for practice. I’m usually listening to what they have to say, but I’m always watching them. Always.
6. Exercise. Lose some weight; gain some muscle mass; get healthy. It’ll make you a better parent and person. Your mind will be sharper, and you’ll be more agile, which always helps when you’re a dad and the kids constantly need you to catch them or rescue them from precarious situations. If I’ve learned anything from YouTube, it’s that inevitably one of my kids is going to be flying down a hill on a sled someday, directly on a collision course with the other kid, and I’m going to have to outrun that sled to save them both. Be ready for that day.
5. Try sleeping under a weighted blanket. I haven’t yet, but I’ve heard good things.
4. Be funnier. Your kids are depending on you to crack up entire restaurants with your wise cracks to the wait staff, because that’s very important to their self-esteem. Next time your waiter asks you, “Is there anything else I can get you?” tell him, “Yeah, someone else to pay the bill!” “Do you want a box for that?” “No, but I’ll arm wrestle you!” These are dynamite; trust me. Your kids will be so proud of you.
3. Work harder, not smarter. Life is supposed to be painful.
2. Love your kids. This is the easiest one to accomplish on this list, but probably the most important. I’m constantly amazed at how smart my kids are, how resilient, how unpredictable, how hysterical, how amazing, how thought-provoking and heart-warming they are, each day. They keep me on my toes. They make me want to be better at everything, so I can set the right example and can provide a good life for them. It’s difficult to put into words what a blessing that is. They’re these littler versions of me and my wife, thine sweet Annette, with all the potential in the world. And their futures are in our hands. So, don’t spoil that. Put them above all else. Love them, and make sure they know how much you do. Tell them, or write it down. I’m doing that, for them.
1.Learn how to use Microsoft Excel. That seems like it’d be useful.