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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

The Dad Game: Six months, two dimes, and one (getting) better Dad

"The Dad Game" columnist John Kaufeld suggests that dads use two dimes as a representation of 20 minutes of your time to spend with your kids each day. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Mint)
"The Dad Game" columnist John Kaufeld suggests that dads use two dimes as a representation of 20 minutes of your time to spend with your kids each day. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Mint)
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Saturday, July 19, 2014 12:01 am
It's been six months since two dimes started keeping an eye on me from the dresser. They aren't the same ones that started the year in that spot, but that's okay. This isn't really about the dimes; it's about you and me becoming the dads we want to be.So, what's happening with your dimes? Are they helping you spend better time with your kids or did they get spent with your pocket change? Are they doing or are still wanting?For those of you who just started playing The Dad Game, we launched the Two Dimes Project in January, during the annual I-will-make-my-year-better resolution time. (Ah, yes… I see you know the time I'm talking about.)

This whole thing began because there's a difference between wanting and doing, and we're tired of just wanting.

Lots of people in the world - myself included - want different things in their lives. But just wanting something isn't enough. If it was, then we'd all have ponies, milkshakes, rainbows, and winning lottery tickets.

Life doesn't work that way. To make new things happen in lives takes action. We need to make different decisions, choose different options, and spend our time in different ways. For us as dads, it's the difference between wanting to be better dads versus deliberately choosing and doing the things that make us better dads.

That's where the dimes come in. Those dimes represent twenty minutes of your time — roughly the same amount spent watching commercials during a single hour of prime time television. But instead of watching commercials, you're going to spend twenty minutes every day focused on your kids.

Twenty minutes. Just twenty minutes. That's your goal. And those dimes are a tangible reminder to take action and spend that twenty minutes every day.

At first blush, this may not sound like a lot of time to us as adults, but trust me on this one. Twenty minutes of I'm-only-paying-attention-to-you time is huge to our kids. Really, really huge.So, my friend and fellow dad, how are you and your two dimes doing in your quest to spend more time with your kids and become a better dad?

Think back over the last six months. When did you spend an extra 10 minutes with your kids? How about 20? Did you do that once or over several days? Did you get in a whole week — or even start a new habit?

Here's the good news: If you have any “yes” answers to those questions, then you're on your way. You did something differently. You made a change. You're doing, not just wishing. You go, dad!As you read those questions, it's easy to obsess on every time you didn't make the choice you wanted.

Don't go there. Don't do it. That kind of thinking won't get you where you want to go.

Instead, focus on the times you succeeded, even if it's just a few. In this business, success is success, period.

Nobody becomes Super Dad overnight. It took us all a long time to get where we are, and it'll take a while for us to move ourselves to where we want to be. Every success counts. Every single one.

Instead of looking back at the times you didn't succeed, look ahead to your next chance to do something different. Then look to the one after that. Then lather, rinse, and repeat.

One success becomes two. Three choices grow to five. Pretty soon, it's part of life.

Yes, you'll have setbacks along the way. We all do. Work gets in the way, the roof demands your attention, or the toilet springs a leak just as the evening begins.

Take those times as they come. Talk about them with your kids and your significant other. More importantly, listen to what your kids and significant other say about them. (By the way, “listen” in that sentence means “keep your yap shut and let your ears do the heavy lifting.”)

You and me, we can become better dads. And we'll do it one good choice at a time.


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