A Quiet Place

Picture the man. He is in his comfy chair in the living room, it’s Friday after work. There’s a pestilence on outside. Chores need catching up on. That child of yours though is aimlessly footling about the house. You know, being a kid. However, the time has come for their next chore. The man in his comfy chair raises his voice enough to be heard in the next room, “Billy! Take the trash out.”

If you add in a newspaper and a cup of coffee, you’ll have all the makings of an old stereotypical TV sitcom. Nowadays, instead of the newspaper, we have Snapchat news, Twitter, and Facebook. The man could be very well sitting there catching up on current events when it was time for Billy to take out the trash.

Children need to have chores, it teaches them responsibility. Children need reminders of their chores, they are kids. Dad’s don’t sit in the lounger and shout across the room/house. Sure, it is a way to get the attention of your child and remind them of their chores. But what if Mom just gave them something else to do?. What if they’re doing something fun and childlike that can put the trash off for a few minutes?

Maybe all your kids are all playing nicely together and nobody is crying or fighting. You’ll never know from the loaf-a-lounger. If you’re gonna stick with “good enough” parenting and just continue to be a father, then the only thing that will be important to you is the chore getting done. If you want to “up your game” and put that dad-card into your wallet you’re going to get up off your duff.

I know you’re probably exhausted from work. Give yourself a twenty-minute respite in your chair catching up on the news and then worry about the chores. It will be a healthy break for you to rest your bones and distract your mind with something other than work. (Unless you work in the news media, then look up some cat videos) You could even take a short nap. As long as it is less than 20 minutes you won’t enter deep sleep, but you’ll get recharged. This is known as the power-nap.

After you’ve had your power-nap, remember never more than twenty minutes, then you physically get up. Where is that Billy anyways? He’ll be easy to find, there is a limited number of places for them to be, and this isn’t a game of hide-and-seek. So go find him.

Take your bones to them no matter how tired.

Why is this important? Well think about the level of psychological impact going physically to be where they are to talk to them is compared against shouting across the house for them to come to you no matter what they are doing. Going to them gives you any number of insights. Are they tucked in with that good book you’ve been wanting them to read? Are they playing along nicely with their siblings? Are they drawing a picture or coloring a page? That other man has no idea, he’s still sitting in his recliner. If you’ve taken yourself to the dad-level then you know something more about them.

Maybe they’ve had a bad day. Imagine that from the easy chair. Billy had a terrible day at school., it doesn’t even matter the reason, and now someone is shouting at him across the house to come empty the trash. A bad day AND someone shouting at him. If you play that particular tape forward, there’s going to be stomping and anger and punishment and then everyone is having a very bad day. Kudos to you, father, you’ve ruined everyone’s evening. But if you’re the real dad in this scenario then you know something is up when you get to your child’s bedroom. Suddenly that chore gets pushed down a notch on the priority list.

Or, maybe their day was just fine and they are just hanging out fiddling away time in their room with a game. Here is the game changer:

Whisper

Many times you’ll find that a whisper cuts through noise much better than a shout. Two things will happen. The whisper will get their attention, and then they’ll notice you standing in their doorway. Physically being there in the doorway will give weight and importance to what you are about to say and whispering is a way to give private directions if, for example, they are with a friend or with siblings.

Private directions give them dignity in one hand, and personally delivering it demonstrates their importance to you. When your child sees that you’re taking time away from yourself and giving it to them they will see how much you value them. … They’ll also see how much you value getting the kitchen trash taken out. After all, those are two of the lessons we want them to learn. Their value to us, and the value of hard work.

Because any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.

Cover photo by Lauren Mancke on Unsplash

Author: Phillip

Phillip is a dad of three boys married to a beautiful dedicated woman. An aspiring artist and science fiction author. He has been an IT professional for the past 15 years. He is currently working on a full-length sci-fi novel, but he also makes small drawings/watercolors for his school-age son's lunchbox and occasionally pretends to be a comedian. He also still struggles with putting two spaces at the end of sentences.