The most important fathering is the small stuff

I recently visited my parents. My father has visibly aged since I last saw him this summer. Since then I have thought a lot about him.

Here is the interesting thing about my memories: I don’t savor the same things that others would remember about my father: the accomplished coach, the popular teacher, the respected church elder. What I recall are the small things: the time he taught me how to hold a bat; taking me to his school classroom on a Saturday morning to play while he did school work; or, interestingly, I remember the firm, but loving way he dealt with me after I had really messed up as a young teenager. Our first impulse as fathers is to worry about the “big stuff” — our jobs, our marriages, our kids’ health and behavior. These things are important. What stays with children, however, is the “small stuff” — the funny story you told them at bedtime, the time you taught them to make snow angels, or the time you held them in your arms after a bad dream.


• What favorite memories do you have about your father? What “small stuff” did he do with you that made a lasting impression on you?

• Take time to see yourself through the eyes of your child. What do they want from you — as opposed to what you want to give them?

• Ask your child what they like best about you - the answers may surprise you!

The local fathering effort, in cooperation with the National Center for Fathering, provides bi-weekly action ideas to stimulate conversation between fathers and parents.

For more information, or to join local conversations, contact

Mick Trombley at

David Eggebeen at

Robert Orndorff at

Marc McCann at 237-1719 or