9. Enjoy yourself. It all goes by too quickly. My son is 7 now, and if you asked me if it feels like seven years since he was born, I'd have to tell you it feels more like two. Maybe two and a half.
The time you have with your kids absolutely flies by, so really take the time to enjoy it. Take time out of work to be with them. Call in sick one day and take them to the amusement park. Pick up your kid from school and go hit a bucket of balls with them, or volunteer to be the coach of their soccer team. Believe me, you won't wind up on your deathbed saying, "I wish I'd spent more time at the office." You'll say, "I wish I'd spent more time with my daughter."
10. Learn what kids want most from their dad. I heard a good friend of mine, Dave, once reveal what kids really want most from their dads. They don't care what kind of job you have, or how many awards or accolades you've garnered in your industry, or what kind of degree you have. What they want most is your time. They want to be with you. They want your attention, your ear, your opinion, your focus -- they just want to be around their dad. They need "dad time" and they want you around as much as possible.
I remember Dave mentioning that as long as he was at home, even if he was asleep on the couch, his kids were happy because "dad was there." They just want you with them, around them, and basically being "there." Now, what happens if you (dad) aren't around enough? Problems start. They start doing things to get your attention, and not all of them are as well thought out as you'd hope. A kid whose dad spends a lot of time with him will generally stay out of trouble -- a kid who constantly needs to do things to get dad's attention generally won't.
All right, now that you know what they want, what's in it for you (besides the fact that it will save you untold bail money)? Every minute you spend with them rubs off on them. Every story, every moral, every hug, every kiss, every time you discipline them, every time you wipe away their tears, every time you buy them popcorn at the movies, every time they see you show compassion to someone less fortunate -- it all rubs off. Your kindness, your wisdom, your examples, your lame jokes. They all rub off.
Remember, you're molding a little life here, a very impressionable little mind, and you are your kid's role model. Their hero. Show him how it's supposed to be done; as your child grows older, you'll be amazed at how you two wind up having so much in common. Why is that? Because he's just like his dad.
Excerpted from The Book for Guys Who Don't Want Kids by Scott Kelby (Fair Shake Press, 2005).
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.
Originally published on AmericanBaby.com, March 2006.