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Daddy Day

During my first week on the island, I instituted Daddy Days for Marcus and Nora, who are 6 and 4 respectively. On Tuesdays, I pick up Marcus early from school and spend the afternoon with him alone. And I do the same for Nora on Wednesdays. The rules are simple:

  1. Only I and the child. Nobody else.
  2. We do one or two things that both of us want to do.
  3. I’m 100% present and engaged.

I love Daddy Days. And the children love them, too, because they talk about it all the time and look forward to them every week. We sometimes do extravagant things like watercolor, hiking, and fishing, and sometimes we do simple things like Lego, reading, and picking berries.

When we were in Boston, we had Daddy Days, too. Oh, maybe once every 2 months at best. But they always made me immensely happy. When you have two or more children at the same time, you’re a referee. Or a maid. But when you’re fully engaged one-on-one with a child, you actually have startlingly rich conversations and interactions. We reach for common ground: the child tries to act more like an adult, I try to act more like a child, and we meet happily in the middle. Neither the parent nor the children can do this if it’s not one-on-one.

Now that I’m not working and living at a place with few distractions, I spend a lot more time with the children in total. But I treasure Daddy Days above all.

Last week, I taught Marcus to draw a map of the island with all the places that we frequent. Marcus said, “When I become a dad, I want to teach my kids all these things, too.” It was a deeply moving moment for me. Because a child couldn’t pay his father a better compliment.

Rødøy Map By Marcus

  1. Dean #

    One line stands out for me: “I’m 100% present and engaged.”

    This is a serious problem in society today. Parent’s are superficially, if at all, involved in their childrens daily lives. Children need the attention and re-inforcement that they, and what they do and think, matter.

    You, sir, are an awesome Father and Parent!

    September 29, 2011
    • I have often been guilty of not being able to put the Blackberry and later the iPhone away when I’m with the children. I’m trying to change that.

      September 29, 2011
  2. Winston,
    Sounds fun and enriching! Enjoy them!

    September 29, 2011
  3. AiTomBounDin #

    I’ve lived the best moments in my life with my children as my husband was agreed with me and I stopped work at all. So – no childrengarden at all… And there were Daddy days with us too but on Sundays only. And I was free for myself that days 🙂
    Have a good time also with Cristin 🙂

    September 29, 2011
    • Thanks for sharing. I think kindergarden is also necessary because the social aspect of growing up can be learned only when they spend time with other children. The thought of taking Nora out of kindergarden altogether this year occurred to me many times.

      September 29, 2011
      • AiTomBounDin #

        I beg your pardon – I wanted to say Kristin of course!
        Kindergarden in Russia keeps children till 6-7 years old as babies 😦
        With my children we passed by various schools for example Music, sport and draywing. I was suggested even to take my daughter to the second degree at school instead of the first.
        But mother has to be free from work to take her children from one school to another:-)
        I liked very much the school training for the children in Switzerland. They begin with the children of three years old! No kindergarden – children are fond of such studies. Even the ski on each Tusday in the mountains-)

        September 30, 2011
  4. That’s such a cool map! It reminds me of a drawing I made when I was little. We were staying at a camping site right below a castle on a cliff, and my mother suggested I draw the castle and helped me along a little. Two weeks ago when I got married she gave me the drawing. She had saved it all these years and it has such happy memories attached to it. I can imagine drawing together with you will also create happy memories for your children to look back on when they’re older.

    September 29, 2011
  5. What a great concept…I am sure all of you look forward to each alone time. Love it…hope it catches on.

    September 29, 2011
  6. What a great post and such an important idea. Marcus’s map is fabulous! A little artist like his parents. 🙂 Greg often encourages us to do more one on one time individually with the kids and this helps persuade me of the benefits. The blog is wonderful. Love to all of you! xo

    October 1, 2011
    • Now that I think about it, Greg did do daddy days a lot. Maybe the idea subconsciously came from him. Thanks!

      October 1, 2011
  7. Richard P #

    You are doing it right Winston – Bravo!

    October 22, 2011
  8. Great idea Winston. Will be trying this myself…

    October 31, 2011

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