Conversations with your Child
A few years ago, I lay down on my six-year-old
sons bed before he went to sleep. Its a
time when we have some of our most interesting and
precious talks. This evening, I was preoccupied
with other thoughts. While lying next to him, my
mind was a million miles away. My son was being
unusually quiet as well.
Which of these would you rather do? Die,
eat boogers, or eat snails? It took all my
strength to keep from laughing.
Well, thats an interesting question.
I guess Id take the snails. How about
Id go for the boogers. I
wouldnt want to die.
This was the beginning of a far-reaching
discussion of death, life, and disgusting things we
are faced with in our lives. And in that single
question, my son had freed me from the depths of my
worry and concern. He had brought me back to the
precious present moment, where all happiness
exists. In a moment, he had transformed my
Had this fascinating question not been posed, I
would have remained in a work-related stupor. My
mind would have been filled with unnecessary worry.
It was only the latest example of how my children
bless my life. And it was the latest evidence of
how being involved in my childrens lives
provides me with more than I could ever dream.
In the book New Strategies for Balancing
work and Family (1998), researchers and
authors James Levine and Todd Pittinsky found that
involved fathers were actually healthier than
fathers who were distant from their children. They
also found that fathers who had the fewest worries
about their relationships with their children had
the fewest health problems.
And, when involved fathers are happy at home,
they feel less stress, and actually perform better
at work. Levine and Pittinsky found that when men
are comfortable at home, their sense of
accomplishment and confidence carries over into the
This research shows what many have suspected for
some time: The qualities that make someone an
effective father are the same qualities that make
them an effective husband, and an effective
employee. We live whole lives, and the thoughts and
feelings we carry around dont stay in
separate compartments. Every part of our life
impacts the other parts in a big way.
And while many of us know how good fatherhood
has been to us, its easy to get stuck on how
much we do for our kids. Its easy to think
about all the things we could be doing if we
werent serving our kids in some way. And
before you know it, we can become victims. We can
see how little appreciation there is for what we
do, and how hard we work.
But were fooling ourselves when we take
this path. We are forever changed for the better
when we commit to fatherhood, in ways that are
deeper than our understanding.
So what choice will it be for you? Gratitude or
Its a much easier choice than death,
boogers, or snails.
© 2008 Mark
Other Father Issues,
* * *
To this day I can remember my father's
voice, singing over me in the stillness of the
night. - Carl G. Jung
a Masters degree in counseling psychology and has
been a counselor, business consultant, sports
counselor, and a certified life and business coach.
He has worked with individuals, teams, and
businesses to improve their performance for over 20
years. Prior to life and business coaching Mark was
a world-ranked professional tennis player and has
coached other world-ranked athletes. He has helped
hundreds of individuals to implement his coaching
techniques. Mark specializes in coaching men to
balance their lives and to improve the important
relationships in their lives. He is the author of
the popular e-books, 25
Secrets of Emotionally Intelligent
Your Wife in 30 Days or Less (And Improve Yourself
at the Same Time
Mark is also the publisher of the Dads
Dont Fix your Kids ezine for fathers.
To sign up, go to www.markbrandenburg.com
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