By Arner Ang
As a young boy, I looked forward to what my parents would get me for Christmas. Would it be a new toy or a gadget perhaps? For a time, I was the center of the world. Everything stopped as I played, without any cares, and with an unbridled exuberance that anything was possible. But as time passed, that gift would be put aside and lose its shine. My parents had to leave the country to work abroad, there was no one to play with and share the experience.
Fond memories with dad
When I look back on my life, my fondest memories are those spent with my dad. Before he had to work abroad, he took time out from his busy schedule, his night out with friends and his own interests, to spend it with me. A day in the park, kicking around a new soccer ball, or throwing that frisbee is forever etched in my memory as a time that I felt important, liked and loved by my dad. Each time I recall those occasions, I am still filled with happiness.
The presence of a father
With so much distraction in the world, from social media, TV, friends, relatives, our children are constantly bombarded with ideas of who they are, and what they are worth. When fathers speak and spend time with children, it tells them who they are and how much they are valued. They already know their mothers love them. But they are not really sure about fathers. What we say and do weigh heavily on our child’s selfworth, identity and confidence. Yes, they know we love them, we work hard to provide for them. But knowing in the head is a world of difference from knowing in the heart.
Time is the most precious gift
In the busyness of the Christmas season, we need to move past the gifts, parties and our social profile. We need to carve out an intentional time to spend and bond with our children. Don’t just give that gift, but play it with them. Share your interests with them. Make them feel they matter by giving them our most precious resource, our time.
A couple of suggestions would be to buy a board game or a sport equipment and just spend the day playing with the kids. Try out a new experience together like riding bikes or scooter around a park or build a playhouse using old balikbayan boxes. Lead a mission like finding the perfect gift for mom, or share your favorite movie with the kids while munching on snacks. It doesn’t need to be expensive. It just needs to be an undistracted and dedicated time with them, so please keep all gadgets and phones away.
They say you can never step in the same river twice. With each passing moment, our children grow bigger and more aware. Our opportunities to bond with them and influence them also pass us by. Let this Christmas season be about creating golden moments with our children. This gift of time builds their self-esteem, strengthens their emotional core, and helps them know who they are and how much they are worth. Let our voices as fathers be the strongest one this season.
About the writer: Arnold Ang, fondly called Arner by his friends, is a master trainer, board member, and speaker of the Philippine chapter of The World Needs a Father. It’s a global movement focused on fatherhood. He is a loving husband to Melissa and father to Remy and Kenzi, and a furdad to Cody.