Wondering why you need a special day reserved to show your wife you care? Is Valentine’s Day just a commercialized racket that pressures people into needless spending? Or maybe you want to get her something great, but you don’t know where to start. Maybe you’re thinking you’re both busy, and she’ll understand if you just skip it this year?
These are all valid thoughts and concerns, but the truth is, your wife appreciates when you show you’re thinking about her any time of year, and Valentine’s Day is a great day to celebrate your love for her. It doesn’t have to be expensive or showy. Often the best gifts are just the opposite.
To get in the right frame of mind, take a moment and think about what you already know about your leading lady.
Knowing her Love Language is helpful, but if you’re under a time crunch, keep it simple. How does she recharge? Does she seem to be in need of time to herself or time together? This might depend on if you have young kids (she may need some alone time!) or if your kids are a bit older (she may be craving time together to connect as a family). Perhaps she’d enjoy a morning to do her own thing, a date night out with you, or maybe she’d like to hit an indoor water park with the whole family. Does she love coffee, shopping, or massages, or is a handwritten note and breakfast in bed more her style?
We checked in with women coast-to-coast, and rounded up a few ideas to get you started:
“I’d love a morning to myself, getting coffee and my nails done.” – AM, Columbia, South Carolina
Bonus points if you give her gift cards to her favorite coffee place and nail salon so she’ll actually go do this. Otherwise women (especially moms!) can feel guilty spending the money on themselves, but giving her the gift cards shows you want it to feel like a treat that you’ve already set into motion.
“I usually ask my husband for household décor or updates that I wouldn’t normally request. For example, a few years ago I asked him to change out every single outlet and light switch to white ones. It took forever, but it’s something I enjoy literally EVERY single day! Another year I wanted our bedroom painted and new blinds. I enjoy these things so much. Though, I also like jewelry… I mean, who doesn’t?!” – JF, Chesterfield, Missouri
Has your wife mentioned any projects she’d love to have done around the house? Could you surprise her by carving out time to check an item off the to-do list or hire someone to get it done?
“Grocery store flowers are always sweet, and much less expensive than ordering from a florist this time of year. It shows he was thinking about me!” – BB, Jacksonville, Florida
If your wife loves gardening or being outdoors odds are good that she’d enjoy receiving some fresh flowers – especially if they don’t cost a ton. A simple bouquet paired with a favorite bottle of wine and cheese and crackers makes for an easy, impromptu pre-dinner date any day of the week.
“Every time we have a special occasion (anniversary, birthday, Christmas) I ask my husband to buy me a blowout package at my salon. My hair not only looks great, but I can make it a whole week without washing my hair if they do a double wash. It is seriously a godsend, especially with a young baby. Priceless.” – AD, Hermosa Beach, California
Does your wife love getting her hair done? Do you know what salon she goes to, or could you check her calendar for clues and surprise her with a gift card?
“What I want most is for my husband to make a great dinner for us to enjoy together. It’s nice that he will plan meals, grocery shop, and loves to cook. I can relax because I know he has it all taken care of, and he’s great at it!” – SS, Denver, Colorado
Has your wife been hinting she’d like a night out together, but maybe it’s too expensive or you can’t seem to pin down childcare? Try putting the baby to bed early one night or asking a friend to watch the kids and then surprise her with a special dinner for two at home complete with her favorite recipe and a candle on the table.
“My husband and I each have Amazon Lists that we add to throughout the year. It's so easy because you just add things to your Wish List as you see them so she knows what you like, and your wife does the same on her own list. Then when it’s time to look for a gift you’ve got a curated list of exact items she’s guaranteed to love!” – SG, Springfield, Missouri
Are you’re looking for something quick and easy (read: perhaps last minute? Life happens!) for this Valentine’s Day? Try a subscription to Amazon Prime or an Amazon gift card. It’s the perfect gift for a busy mom. She can get some shopping done while feeding the baby or sitting at basketball practice.
So what does your wife really want for Valentine's Day? As a good dad you know that no matter how you choose to celebrate this love-filled holiday, supporting your partner is what's important. When you show appreciation and love to your wife, you are not only filling her love tank, but you’re also modeling healthy relationships for your children, and it's safe to say that's a #winwin in any woman's book.
For more great insights and tips be sure to subscribe to our Good Dads Podcast, and check out this Keeping the Romance Alive podcast (Part I, Part II, and Part III) where three dads join us in the studio to talk about the importance of making time for your spouse... physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
In closing, if you click through and order a subscription to Amazon Prime Good Dads will earn from qualifying purchases and that helps us keep the lights on. Thanks for your support - today and always!
Stephanie Grandestaff is a wife and mother, and enjoys handling all aspects of marketing and media for Good Dads.
Books empower children to be more successful by teaching many important life skills, and regularly reading to your children is time spent nurturing and showing them affection. There is literally no downside to the time you spend with your children and books, and it's never too early to start!
Gary Beckman, long-time first grade teacher and champion storyteller, joined us on the Good Dads Podcast to share six of his favorite books that help children develop leadership characteristics (check out that episode of the podcast here).
Many of these classic books are out of print, but you can still find copies at your local library or used bookstore, or click through the links below to search on Amazon.
See if you recognize any from your own childhood. Bonus points if you still have the book and tag us in a photo on social media!
For more great insights and tips be sure to subscribe to our Good Dads Podcast, and check out this episode on Leadership Books.
In closing, when you click through to Amazon and buy these books to help teach your kids leadership traits you'll not only be the best dad ever, but Good Dads will also earn from qualifying purchases (at no additional cost to you!), and that helps us keep the lights on. Thanks for your support - today and always!
If you have been parenting for even a minute, your world has been bombarded with all sorts of advice on what you should do. Good dads know that they are to model love, laughter, and good work ethics. Not only do good dads know these are essential, but we strive to show them to the best of our ability. When one or all of these things seem to take hold in one of our kids, we celebrate. We are thrilled, even a little proud that we could play such a positive role in their overall development as a human being.
But, what about the things we should be doing that aren’t so “good looking” on the surface? Sometimes, dads need to be willing to be what the world might deem “unattractively transparent” so that kids can learn some pretty deep life lessons. It is with this mindset that I think of three things in particular that our kids should see us doing, but often some things that make us feel pretty uncomfortable.
As parents, especially dads, we can have this innate desire to be seen as “superheroes” in the eyes of our young. Always the one with the great advice, the right answer, the solution to any and all problems. Always the one to swoop in and make things look easy. But, is that real life? And, more importantly, will our kids always be in situations where someone else will save the day? Struggle is part of life…real life…any life. If our kids never see us struggle, they will never have the opportunity to see us persevere. The ability to persevere in spite of challenging circumstances is a much-needed skill in order to be successful, but many young people lack it. It’s okay to let your kids see you struggle, as long as they see you persevere through it.
Yup. I said it. Kids should see their dads cry. They also should see them laugh. Maybe not every second of every day, but crying and laughing are part of the emotional coping process. Now, you may not be the crying type and I can’t say I have cried that many times in front of my boys over the past almost 30 years, but they have certainly seen the eyes water on a few occasions. It isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of life. Let the kids know your emotional lights are on, somebody is home, and that somebody knows how to cope with the heartache and joy this life presents.
I will be the first to admit it, before my wife and kids can… I have a hard time saying I am wrong. But, admit I must, for wrong I often am. If you look around, ours is a culture in which many have a hard time conceding fault. Taking responsibility is not something humans tend to want to do. It's critical for our sons and daughters to witness us not only making mistakes, but also owning up to them. We must exhibit the humility necessary to say, “I’m sorry. Will you please forgive me so that we can continue to live and love and work together?” Can you imagine if every person on social media possessed this skill? Our world would forever be changed. And in a good way. Dads, this kind of behavior gives our kids an example and experience to be the kind of adult people that will be skilled to develop deep relationships.
So, as you ponder the things to let your kids see… and not see… remember to let them see you struggle, cry, and apologize. This just might lead to kids who can readily persevere, cope, and humbly get along with everyone else on the planet.
Kevin Weaver, CEO of Network211 and father of three sons, lives with his wife KyAnne in Springfield, MO. He enjoys spending time with family, hunting and watching University of Kansas basketball with his boys! He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Anytime one of my three children gets in trouble at school, my first question to them is always, “Were you being a leader or a follower today?”
My oldest and only daughter always had an issue with talking in class. Her excuse is always that others were talking to her. I explain she needs to be the leader, and tell the others that they need to wait until class is over to continue the conversation. I don’t know that it ever actually happens, but I try to give her guidance.
When it comes to sports, I have also tried to get my daughter to be more of a vocal leader on her teams. Unfortunately, it’s just not in her nature to speak out. In some ways, she is a great leader, and doesn’t even know it. She shows up each day, works hard, and quietly puts in the work. She leads by example for anyone who is paying attention.
My middle child grew up being a follower. In elementary and middle school when kids “dared him” to do anything, he was up for the challenge. I received a call his first week of junior high school because he walked down the hallway flipping off every camera in the school. I later found out this was done as one such “dare.”
In grade school it was the same thing. We had many conversations about how to be a leader, and less of a follower at school over the years. Once he hit high school something kind of clicked, or maybe he just matured a little, but he has been so much better.
I will say my 8-year-old paid a lot of attention to all those conversations over the years. I have had very few issues with him in school, and get many compliments on his behavior, and how he likes to try to be helpful. It will be interesting to see how he develops his leadership abilities in the future.
I have learned there are many ways of showing leadership, and it's important to point out when your child demonstrates such acts, as a way of reinforcing positive behavior you hope to see more often.
3 Tips for Instilling Leadership Skills in Your Child
The goal of asking questions is to help your child reason and mature with cause and effect thinking. Try your best not to tell them what you think should happen. Focus instead on helping them develop reasoning skills.
For more great insights and tips be sure to subscribe to our Good Dads Podcast, and check out this Developing Leadership Skills podcast where two dads of toddlers join us in the studio to uncover how things they're doing everyday are helping build leadership skills in their young children.
In closing, when you click through and buy lunchbox notes to remind your kids why you love them you'll not only be the coolest dad ever, but Good Dads will also earn from qualifying purchases and that helps us keep the lights on. Thanks for your support - today and always!
Herb Cody is a husband and father of three. He is a part time Uber driver and full time caregiver of his spouse, who suffered a traumatic brain injury after an auto accident November, 2015. Herb loves football and is a St Louis Cardinals fanatic. He and his family live in Nixa, MO. Herb can be reached for questions or comments at email@example.com
“If your friends ate horse manure, would you?” asked my father. He wondered how likely we would be to do what our friends were doing, to follow the crowd, to run like the lemmings right over a cliff. This was usually in response to something we kids just had to have or activity we wanted to do that he thought was less than sensible.
My husband’s mother was no different from my dad. “At least he wasn’t bearded,” she would say with disgust when describing someone she met back in the 1970s. To her, beards were definitely a sign of some sort of character defect. Only the clean shaven, in her book, gave visible evidence of integrity. I wonder what she would say now about the trend toward facial hair of all lengths and styles on young and old alike. She would probably be less than enthusiastic. She might also object to blue, green and purple hair. It simply wasn’t in her nature to embrace something new.
The fact is, as we age most of us are like this. We hold on to what we know and trust. We resist the new and novel. Knowing this about ourselves does not necessarily make it any easier when our child insists on embracing a new trend. Many parents wonder about the tendency of their kids, especially their preteens and teenagers, to jump on current crazes for a “must have” object or “must do” activity.
It’s not easy to know how to handle the various fashions, fads or identities our kids demand to explore, but there are things things dads and moms can remember that can help.
Embracing various styles or trends is part of life. Adults do it too, hopefully with greater thought and discretion, but they still do it. Do your best to talk with your child about what is going on in his world that you might not understand. Avoid judgment as much as possible. Listen and learn as a foundation for more in-depth conversations about the truly important things in life.
For more great insights and tips be sure to subscribe to our Good Dads Podcast, and check out this Trending with Kids podcast where Josh-the-Dad and his teen daughter discuss some of the current trends including VSCO Girls, Snapchat, Tik Tok, and others.
In closing, this post contains links to a couple of super hip VSCO trend items. When you click through and buy your teens some swag you'll not only be the coolest dad ever, but Good Dads will also earn from qualifying purchases and that helps us keep the lights on. Thanks for your support - today and always!
Dr. Jennifer Baker is the Founder and Executive Director of Good Dads. She is the wife of one, mother of two and grandmother of eight. She may be reached for question or comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is hardly a person on the planet that doesn’t like the opportunity to play. Of course, the term “play” has varying meanings at varying ages. For instance, play to a two-year-old might mean whacking a bowl with a mixing spoon, while play to a 10-year-old might mean hours of meticulously building multi-thousand-piece Lego lands. A teenager? Often sports come to mind, while in the world of adults – at least for me – it has often meant long motorcycle trips or quietly fishing by the lake. To my wife? Drop her off at any local décor super store and she can happily play all day.
Just how important is play and playing with our kids? I don’t simply mean the battle over “going outside vs. staying inside game,” either. Is it about what our children are playing, or is it more about the fact they are playing and that we, as parents, are encouraging and engaging as well?
I get being a young man who is also a young parent. In the very season of life I was trying to navigate my way through a career path, my wife and I eagerly also brought into the task of navigating the parenting path as well. The trend for “career first, family second” may be on the upswing, but that blueprint never crossed our life desks. We didn’t want to wait for kids, and the kids would have to eat... so, the balancing began. With long days and sometimes long nights of working, just seeing my kids, let alone playing with them, seemed a monumental feat. I learned playtime didn’t have to involve loading up the minivan with a picnic basket and sports’ gear in a run for the local park for an entire afternoon. It’s a great gig if you can make it happen, but when you can’t, there’s hope.
While organized play was a huge part of our boys’ childhoods (and might I add the one non-athlete’s marching band camps and practices rivaled the rigor and fun the two athletes’ baseball, basketball, and football endeavors offered), impromptu play proved to be their favorite. To this day, my grown sons rarely mention a thing about one of the many sporting activities or all-day family play outings, but rather they recall the five-minute, nightly, free-for-alls. They can give a true “play-by-play” about these encounters.
Kids are smart. Kids know. Kids are wise enough to know that sometimes dads work long hours and can’t coach their teams and can’t take an entire afternoon to go to the park. That’s when they’re smart enough to know that those minutes in which a tired, hard-working dad turns into a goofy Godzilla to make brushing teeth and going to bed more fun are some of the most meaningful play dates they will ever have.
For me, the bottom line was that I just wanted to connect with my boys whenever and however I could. In the midst of all this, I learned something very important; the power of play can never be underestimated. Sure, hard work is the foundation of an ethic that can move our kids to success. If you can’t enjoy what you work for and find enjoyment in what your life has to offer, what’s the point?
So, my family and I chose to “play” and enjoy this adventure we call life. And, more importantly... we do it whenever possible! Looking back, it is one of most important ingredients to our family bond.
Five Tips for Maximizing Playtime With Your Kids:
Kevin Weaver, CEO of Network211 and father of three sons, lives with his wife KyAnne in Springfield, MO. He enjoys spending time with family, hunting and watching University of Kansas basketball with his boys! He can be reached at email@example.com
As a kid growing up in a small town, I loved to play sports. I began playing baseball at a young age, then football, basketball, bowling and track. I not only enjoyed playing, but watching sports on TV or in person, as well. I knew when I had kids of my own, I would steer them in the direction of athletics as soon as possible.
When I married my wife, I became a stepfather, of Leah, age 7, and Alex, age 5. They had not yet been introduced to sports, but I quickly signed them up for different things. I instantly knew Leah had some athletic ability. She did well in everything she tried. Alex, on the other hand, not so much. When it came to baseball, he preferred to build dirt castles on the field so he could kick them down. When he wasn’t doing that, he was chasing butterflies and grasshoppers. He had no interest in the baseball aspect, which was fine, but every year, when I’d ask if he wanted to play, he always said yes.
We tried Mighty Mites football when he was old enough, and again, he was the kid dancing during the game and stacking cones on the sidelines. He had no interest in the sport at all. I signed him up for soccer, which I knew nothing about because it not offered to me as a kid. Though I did not know anything about the game, I did know running in circles and trying to play tag with your teammates during the game, was not part of the competition.
I thought maybe bowling would be more his jam. Sadly, he would walk up, chuck the ball down the lane, and instantly turn around, with zero care as to where the ball would end up.
Alex continued to play sports through grade school, mostly because he knew he would get a medal at the end of the season and snacks after games.
Once he hit junior high, Alex began to get into things like horticulture and wanted to join band. These are two things I never did, but I was happy to invest my time and money if he enjoyed these activities. He did not try out for a single sport in junior high until 8th grade when he found out he couldn’t be cut from the track team. About two weeks into practice, he had a little mishap, and broke his elbow. His junior high athletic career was over!
The summer break between 8th grade and high school, Alex played a lot of backyard football with friends. He fell in love with it and told me he was ready to try out for the football team. As happy as I was to hear it, I also knew he would be so far behind all the other kids who had been playing for years. I warned him of the uphill battle he was about to enter. He went ahead and tried out and made the team, though he only played a few minutes in one game. He still loved it and wants to play again next season.
He joined Jr. ROTC and stuck with band his freshman year. I had no idea how much time and money goes into high school band. There are band camps during the summer, practicing before and after school, and out of town band competitions every weekend. I tried to be there to support him while also getting my other two children to their sporting events and practices.
Although I would prefer to be watching him hit a baseball or drain a three pointer, I will continue to support him in whatever it is that makes him happy as he makes his way through high school and beyond. I've learned we can try to raise our children to share our interests, but it is also very important to support them in their choices, and I can credit Alex with helping me learn this. Here are three quick tips to get started:
From there, you're armed with a better understanding of what interests your child, and you can learn more about it and find ways to talk to them about it. Or if it's an activity you can even make plans to join them in doing it sometime. The important thing is that they'll know you're paying attention to them and that they have your support, and that's invaluable in creating a bond that will last a lifetime.
Herb Cody is a husband and father of three. He is a part time Uber driver and full time caregiver of his spouse, who suffered a traumatic brain injury after an auto accident November, 2015. Herb loves football and is a St Louis Cardinals fanatic. He and his family live in Nixa MO.
Ask yourself right now, “What kind of person do you want your child to grow up to be?” Would you like your children to be good at sports or music, math or science? What if you were to say, “I want my child to be a generous person.”
Children are amazing. They can be taught amazing things. Children can be taught to kick a soccer ball, set a volleyball, and hit a golf ball. Children can be taught to play the violin, skate forward and backwards, and operate a handheld electronic device. Children can also be taught to be generous and to put the needs of others before their own. Children can be taught to appreciate what they have. Children can be taught to share.
If our children are going to be generous then generosity needs to be the lifestyle and cultural value of our home. Generosity does not just happen by wishing or wanting it. Generosity needs to be as high a passion and priority as the other high passions and priorities of your life. Generosity takes work and effort.
For you and me to raise generous children requires more than a casual conversation or a handful of change in the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas. We need to help our children set tangible and sacrificial goals with clear objectives that benefit others in need. Our children will benefit from knowing that they are blessed beyond measure and that their generosity makes a difference in the lives of others.
Here are three ways I have taught my children to be generous. I want to stress, however, that generosity is not just doing projects and generous things. Generosity is being a generous person from the inside out.
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Jeff Sippy, a Dad-In-Training, is the father of three young men and the husband of Cindy. He enjoys sailing every chance that he gets. He is the senior pastor at Redeemer Lutheran in Springfield, MO and can be reached for question or comment at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have always loved math. In fact, I once taught math in fifth through eighth grades. Math is orderly, straightforward and tends to have a right answer. I’ve noticed, however that my eight grandkids seem to lean away from the fun of math. Wow! It occurred to me that it might be up to me to give them a window into this exciting area of their educational experience. How does this grandpa proceed you ask?
Make it every day.
My wife and I recently had an opportunity to take three of our middle school grands to an outdoor activity. We could have made the ride in silence—something they might have preferred at 7:30 a.m.—or we could use the time for “Papa math questions.”
“Who knows what road we are traveling on? I asked.
“Farm Road 156,” one of them volunteered.
“Is that divisible by 2?” I asked.
“Sure,” said the youngest grand. “It’s even”.
“Will three go evenly into to I56?”
One grand said “Yes,” while another said “No,” and the third sat in silent contemplation.
“Does anyone remember the divisible rules?” I continued.
We racked our brains and came up with the following:
I told them I loved the rules for divisibility of both 6 and 7.
“Why?” they asked.
I replied, “6 works if the rule for 2 and 3 both work on the number.”
“And why do you like 7, Papa?” they persisted.
“It is the other side of the question,” I tell them. “There is no rule to help; you must do the division.”
They were not sure they loved that idea.
Back to Farm Road 156:
Divisible by 2? Yes. 3? Yes. 4? Yes. 6? Yes. And finally 13? Yes.
“I also love 13,” I inform them. “13 is a naughty little number that does not play well with others, but it is prime.”
We then launched off into the list of prime numbers. They are a fun lot. Can you list them?
All too soon we arrived at our destination. We did not finish this activity, but there’s always next time.
Opportunities to learn math skills are all around. Just be on the lookout for numbers, shapes, and patterns as you go about your day, and before you know it, you'll help your kids learn math while playing hopscotch on the driveway, building with blocks, or tracking stats at a baseball game.
Math is so much fun I’m already planning for our next trip.
Paul Baker is husband to one, dad to two, grandfather to eight, and recently retired school principal.
I am a proud father of two boys, who are 8 and 14, along with a 16 year old daughter. Over the past 4 years, I’ve noticed more and more gray hairs on my face and in my hair line.......95% of them are a result of my daughter. Don’t get me wrong, she is a great girl and stays out of trouble. I just stress over today’s technology, boys and all the things I can not control.
About four years ago, my wife, and mother of our three children, was in a serious car accident. We almost lost her, though she did suffer a severe, traumatic brain injury. She spent months in the hospital, and even today, she is not the same person. This all happened while my daughter was around 12, which is probably a time when a girl needs her Mom the most.
I’ll never forget the evening my daughter came to me in a bit of a panic, to notify me she was bleeding! I was like, oh my gosh, what happened, where? I don’t see anything, are you okay? Do we need to go to the hospital? She looked at me with a strange face, as if I was a complete idiot! “Dad!!! I’m bleeding!”, as she subtly glanced downward. As I recall, I went into an internal panic, yet I knew I had to show no fear on the outside.
For whatever reason, my response was for her to start a bath and go get in it. If nothing else, this would give me the time to think. I was thrilled to learn they had been taught in class how to use feminine products. I told her if she had any issues, she could call her Aunt or grandma. Whew, that situation went much smoother than I imagined it would.
Since then, we have had many conversations about talking to strangers online, device apps such as Snapchat and Instagram, along with inappropriate texts from boys.
It is a whole new world since I was in school. She was in 7th grade when the first boy sent her a text, asking for a nude photo of herself. Because we had talked about this, she was comfortable in coming to me and telling me about it. She instantly told the boy no, and stopped texting him. Later on in the school year, there a big bust at her school where a bunch of devices were confiscated, and the police were involved, over nude pics being passed around, by 7th graders. Crazy!!!
Now I see so many of these girls posting provocative photos to their social media accounts, which sets them up for negative feedback as well as the positive. Unfortunately, not all of these teen girls can handle the negativity, which leads to self harm, or worse. I try to monitor what my daughter posts, and if it’s something I don’t like, we talk about it.
The best thing to do, is try to start an open line of communication with your daughter as early as possible. Although my daughter and I have had some battles, she will still come to me to talk about all those fun, teen, female issues.
For more great insights and tips be sure to subscribe to our Good Dads Podcast, and check out this three-part mini-series (Part I, Part II, & Part III) with three Springfield, MO dads of pre-teen and teenage daughters.
Herb Cody is a husband and father of three. He is a part time Uber driver and full time caregiver of his spouse, who suffered a traumatic brain injury after an auto accident November, 2015. Herb loves football and is a St Louis Cardinals fanatic. He and his family live in Nixa MO. Herb can be reached for questions or comments at email@example.com. You can check out Herb's own blog at, www.thecodylife.weebly.com.