The joy of fatherhood: Helpful tips for fathers and men who want to become fathers
by Morris Turner
As I’ve stated on several occasions, the most important thing you can give any child is your time. This month I will share some activities and outings you can enjoy while sharing time with your children, grandchildren or the children of friends you are fortunate enough to have in your life.
With the weather patterns being thrown off by the global warming “they” say doesn’t exist, these unseasonal warm conditions lend themselves to some great outdoor possibilities. Here are a few suggestions of positive ways to spend some moments that will create memories to last long beyond when you and I are gone.
A casual walk
Walking is not only good physical exercise but can be a special opportunity to connect with a child as well as the environment around us. Take a walk down the street, to a park or just around the neighborhood. Look and talk about what you see. This is an activity I often call “changing the energy.” Although any child, even adults, can benefit from it, I especially like to do it with babies who are upset or very young children who are unhappy or frustrated. The movement and change in scenery can help to release some of their tension. Try it and let me know what you think.
My favorite places
My father-in-law, my children’s grandpa, always took them down to the marina to see the boats and people watch. He also took them for rides to Mare Island, where he worked, to show them the submarines he painted. When my wife and I visit our grands in Southern Cal, they always grab their backpacks when we arrive – knowing that we are “going on an adventure.” One of our favorite spots to visit is a large park that has a nature preserve and an animal rescue center. The kids love seeing the cats and dogs and walking the trails around the park. The only cost is parking. We take a picnic lunch and hang out until close to nap time and then head for home. How many children in San Francisco have never been for a walk on the wharf or seen the Bay or Golden Gate Bridges up close?
Attend a special event
Expand your child’s world as well as your own by going to a special event in your area. Check your local newspaper or the internet to see what’s happening around town. There are all sorts of “freebees” and sometimes low cost events you can enjoy. I remember my father, who worked two full time jobs, took a few hours off to take me to a baseball game. We met Willie McCovey afterwards, sitting on his suitcase outside Solon Stadium in Sacramento. I never forgot that experience and had the opportunity to share it with Mr. McCovey years later at an autograph signing session.
Well, that’s all for now. Just wanted to remind you that exploring our own backyards can be fun, educational and very, very healthy. By the way, have you hugged the children in your life lately?
Morris Turner is the father of two sons, ages 39 and 35. Over the past 45 years he has worked with children and young people in a variety of settings, including as preschool teacher, career counselor, family mentor and sports coach. He is also an author and recognized researcher in the area of African American settlement in the United States, but his greatest pleasure today is learning to be a good grandpa. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 707-794-0729.