Thursday, May 10, 2007

Lessons From My Daughter - Have Fun

Last month, I had all day child care responsibilities while my wife was on vacation with her college friends for a four day weekend. This was a great opportunity to bond with my 2-1/2 year old daughter. I also imagined I would share some wisdom about life and personal finances :-) Here were the interesting insights I got about teaching and sharing experiences.

Don't be too serious when imparting wisdom. Although way too early, I decided to explain to our daughter that the world was going to be much different than for me. It was going to have much more change and be much more challenging. After giving me a serious look, my daughter said, "Are you OK, Daddy?" I immediately started laughing since I realized I was being way too serious.

This was similar to a previous experience I had while visiting a day care center many years ago. I asked the teacher if I could give the 2-3 year olds some words of wisdom. I gathered them together and said "I want to tell you something very important. These are the best years of your life. Enjoy them." They all looked at me with a face that said, "Huh?" The teacher smiled and said "He's right, enjoy these years." Again, I was being too serious.

Lesson #1: Lectures are not fun.

Use fun to teach. Everyday I would ask my daughter to pick up her toys, but to no avail. Then one time, I decided to make it a game. I picked up one bead and cheered, "Yea, we've got a blue one," and put it in the jar. Quickly, my daughter joined the fun. We counted each bead and clapped each time we put one in the jar. Before long, all the beads were put away and we were both cheering.

Lesson #2: Fun helps get results.

Have them participate in what I do. After a couple days of going to the zoo, getting balloons, swinging and sliding at the park, doing puzzles and releasing helium balloons, I wanted to do one of my own fun things. I asked my daughter if she would let Daddy play pool and she agreed.

While she couldn't play, I involved her in the game. I put her on a chair so that she could see the balls on the table. I asked her which ball she wanted me to shoot. I described the ball by color, solid or stripe and by number. I showed her the ball and she repeated the numbers. I encouraged her to clap and cheer when I sank my shot. Pretty soon she also told me that I missed a shot. It was a ton of fun for both her and me. And I got to play a modified pool and practice very tough shots.

Lesson #3: Participation creates fun.

Overall, it was a great time. My daughter survived four days with Daddy and we had exceptional fun. In addition, I learned that there is more to teaching than just sharing wisdom.

For more on Crossing Generations , check back every Thursday for a new segment.

Photo Credit:, Andrea Church

This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2007 Achievement Catalyst, LLC


L. Marie Joseph said...

It's nice to see a bond between you and your daughter.

When you are with her all day, you learn so much more.

I only get to see my daughter for a few hours a day. But on weekend we spend the entire day together and I learn so much from her.

Dimes said...

Aw, you sound like a good daddy, and what a good way to get her involved in your activity! Far better than leaving a kid unattended, which is what far too many parents do, I'm afraid.

Super Saver said...

Moneymonk and Dimes,

Thanks for your comments.

Time goes by so fast, and one can't get time back. A colleague at work told me that each year turns out to be the best year with one's child. I'm trying to make sure I don't miss the time with her as she grows up.