What Advice Would You Give Your Younger Self?

I have been a father for 38 years. Over the course of having 11 kids, I have learned a lot. There are plenty of things I’ve gotten right and plenty I’ve gotten wrong in that time. Have you ever wished you could speak to yourself when you were younger? It would be great to get just a moment to give some advice to your younger self that would’ve helped make life a little easier or better.

Now that I’m older and a bit wiser, here is some advice to my younger self about fatherhood.

Your day-to-day presence matters most.

Be there, be available, and care about your kids. That’s what they want most.

It’s not the big things. The things that really leave an impression on our kids are not the big flashy moments. Your kids will remember your daily presence and accessibility the most.

Many years ago, I was going to speak at a banquet and I wanted to share a fatherhood story. So I asked my son Eric about the best moment the two of us spent together. I was expecting him to say something like being on the sidelines with me at games, going on trips, or going to Disney. Instead, he told me that his greatest moment was when we were moving and didn’t have any of our toys unpacked. We played baseball in the back yard with a broomstick and ball we made by rolling up tape. He said that was the most fun thing we’ve ever done together.

Be there.

I learned then that it’s not the stuff that’s planned out or the sensational things. All of that is good, but the day-to-day, spontaneous moments you get to spend together will make the most impact. Be there, be available, and care about your kids. That’s what they want most.

Sound off: What advice would you give to your younger self?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What has been your favorite recent moment we’ve spent together?”