Dad – do you do dad singing to your kids? My Mum often sang to me. I can’t hear the “Softly Awakes My Heart” from Samson and Delilah without remembering my Mum. She used to sing at parties and get-togethers, because it wasn’t common for people to own a radio and you made your own entertainment.
Of course she sang nursery rhymes and church music and all kinds of stuff. And she used to sing us to sleep.
The feelings worth sharing
Singing shares our feelings- and we all know that’s important. I sing to my kids and to my grand-kids. You never know what they take in. My youngest grand-kid loves to come to hear our choir sing. She thinks it’s an entertainment put on just for her! She points at me, laughs and claps her hands in joy.
My friend (let’s call him Alfred) sings and plays guitar. He’s well liked at birthday parties and he sings solo sometimes in our choir. And of course he sings to his son. Lo and behold, his son comes out one day with the jingle ABCDE… I was amazed. Not that he knew it. But it was all in tune! Wow! I was amazed. The kid is only two by the way!
Activities that connect us are the best gifts
Do you want to give your son or daughter a precious gift? Share music with them. It connects them with people. I used to play Bach and Mozart to my kids, and it stayed with them. My Brazilian friends are always welcome at parties and gatherings- and a party can happen anytime! Music wards off bad feelings and depression.
Another friend plays sport. He’s teaching his son and daughter how to manage a football. How to catch it, throw it, catch it backwards and forwards. It’s something they can always share. He’s improving their skills and confidence with a ball.
Sport too is a connector. Sporting ability builds confidence, and makes a kid popular. It makes them feel confident among other kids and adults. It helps them join the world of men, or of women, feeling strong and capable. These days heaps of girls play touch footy and in Australia our female and male swimmers are famous.
Reading is important too
Finally, Dad- read with your children. Your son likes to snuggle up to you. Your daughter hops onto your lap when you sit down. Share these moments with a book. Ask him to read to you. Or read to her and pretend to struggle with some of the words. Then the kids can help you out. Books should be in your son’s or daughter’s room, and in yours too.
So Dad- what will you give your kids? Of course you can give them more than this, like feeling confident in themselves, and unique crafts at home. But sport and music are two more precious gifts. Don’t be a meanie! Share what you enjoy with those kids. They will love you for it.
About the author
Dr Peter West is the author of Fathers, Sons and Lovers, and What is the Matter with Boys and writes about a range of different areas concerning men and their children.