Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Lighthearted Fathering

Playfulness with Purpose 

The approach I took with my daughter, Anna, when she was a baby, toddler, infant, K12, college... has always been playful with purpose. I consider myself a happy person so it was natural for me to transfer this to everything I did with my daughter from the first zurburt on her baby belly 28 years ago, to the rhyming silliness I shout during a rousing game of Bannagrams today.

Anna and her pops

Here are five areas that were a part of Anna's daily life with her Papa:


  • Humor - Have you ever known people who always seem to be in a funny state of mind? Who are able to perceptively extract the humor in the scene around them. I am, kind of, that way and Anna quickly learned to appreciate my barrage of one-liners growing up. It fed my ways, while making the challenges of life so much easier to bear (this is an important point), as well. Today, my daughter still laughs (or at least smiles) at my silly (sometimes witty) jokes and puns. Giraffe is her favorite animal because it rhymes with laugh (I made that up, or did I?).

Halloween with Papa Green Bean 

  • Games - Verbal games, card games, board games, games of imagination & improvisation. All were social and interactive, never computer solo types. Today, she hosts theme parties and invites her friends over for game nights. Why is Halloween her favorite holiday? Her Marge Simpson costume is still my favorite.

Anna and Griff
Anna and her dad with Lexi

  • Empathy - We helped crawly critters out of danger and opened doors for elderly folk, then often talked about their feelings and how we may have helped to make their day a bit better. My daughter would help to set the table and clear the dishes when we visited her grandma Green. Anna loved assisting with the meal prep and cooking. Today, Anna fosters dogs for a local canine adoption service and created a blog to promote her fur-friends. She is also a bona fide 'foodie'... but please, enough with the roasted salsa pictures... ha!


  • Music - I grew up with a brother who started a rock & roll band when he was twelve (I was nine). I'd play drums to all the 45's laying by the record player until the sweat beads rolled off my forehead. My parents prefered classical. Later my brother joined a jazz band. Today, Anna continues to appreciate the one global sound that makes all people smile. I must confess, Anna performed Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blue's at her second grade variety show.  

Bedtime stories are not overrated
  • Reading (this one is on every good parenting tips list rightfully so)- I read to Anna at first, then with her. Using dramatic voices to match and exaggerate the characters in the pictures added interesting and humourous dynamics. Library trips were often, Anna got her own card early on and checked out her own books by herself. Today, she has given up reading for TV... wink, wink. 

With lightheartedness, Papa Green Bean