What can dads learn from their kids?

What can dads learn from their kids?
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What can dads learn from their kids?

We often look at kids as little versions of ourselves. We raise them from birth, we mold them, educate them and teach them everything we know. 

Did you know that we can learn from our kids? 

Our kids are unique. They have their own personality, their own habits, and different perspective on life. When we become adults we are told to leave childish things behind. We are told to grow up. But there are a lot of things we can learn from our kids as a dad.

Just observe your kids play for a while. Really sit back and watch. Don’t engage, just pay attention to the little details of their playtime and how they act. Watch how they interact with other kids. Watch how they act with other adults or siblings.

If you observe closely you will learn a lot of things that will make you want to be more like them and less like you.

Here are some things dads can learn from their kids:

Fearlessness

Dads can learn to be fearless from their kids - Walking the rope bridges at Anakeesta
Dads can learn to be fearless from their kids

Have you ever seen a young toddler jump off the couch? It scares you to death when you are not expecting it. But then you see get up and laugh and laugh and they want to do it again.

I have seen my kids set up boxes just so they can climb up them and stand on them. They are small and it frightens me that they are going to fall and hurt themselves. But they don’t.

Why do I have so much fear of them falling but they don’t? Well, they don’t really know any better. They are still learning and they just have that fearlessness in them. 

Nothing scares them.

Until they do it and get hurt they will keep doing it and probably think it’s funny.

Life experiences teach us that doing things like that can hurt us. We get afraid, we don’t want our children or anyone else to get hurt. But we must learn that living in fear is not living at all.

We have to overcome that fear. We have to overcome trauma or past mistakes. It isn’t easy but fear can dampen our creativity and hinder our progress. Your kids have no fear because they don’t know any better. Maybe it’s time for you to live life like you don’t know any better. With no fear.

Now that doesn’t mean you go out tomorrow and do something extremely dangerous. It means that if you didn’t want to start that new business because you were afraid it would fail, you take that step to make it a reality. Or if you don’t ask your boss for a raise because you fear it will damage your standing, just ask him. Just remember the courage of your kids and press on.

Empathy

As adults, we have issues with empathy. When we become dads we feel we have to toughen up a bit. While there is some truth to that we go about it to the extreme. We forget to empathize with those around us and learn to have a better understanding of how others feel.

Little kids are great at empathizing. If they see someone else get hurt their immediate inclination is to make sure the other person is ok. When I hurt myself my little ones will run over and pet me and say “It’s ok daddy”. 

They will even do this with other kids. I have seen my kids run over to another child and give them a toy when they have nothing to play with. They understand that feeling of what it is like to not have something to play with. And they don’t want other kids to feel that way.

Loving blindly

One time we were on vacation and swimming in the pool. Another family joined us and they had a child that was about the same age as my daughter. Next thing you know they are best friends. In fact every day after that she looked for her friend.

She had never met this child before. But from that day forward this was her friend. 

My kids have always done this time and time again. It didn’t matter their gender, race, age, employment status. Kids will love people without a second thought. 

As dads, we can have trouble loving others. We stand back and observe. We have doubts about someone because maybe they don’t have the same socio-economic status as us. Maybe they grew up in a different generation. Maybe we fear that they will cause harm to our family.

Dads need to stop this. We need to love others as we want to be loved. We need to love others just as our children love others. They have no reservations about those around them and we shouldn’t either. Even when the love isn’t reciprocated, you should still love.

Selflessness

Every year around Christmas my kids look forward to one thing. They enjoy getting presents, but they enjoy going out and shopping for others for presents. And not other friends or family members. We always shop for other families that don’t have enough. And they love to pick out things that we can give to other kids.

My kids are the same way about birthdays. They love to go shopping and buy stuff for friends, siblings, or their mom. It’s crazy how much they love to give.

Being selfless is putting others first. It means that even though you had plans for the weekend you help your neighbor clean their gutters. It means you go and collect food for the needy instead of spending the weekend hunting.

Staying Positive

It’s rare that I meet a kid that has a negative outlook on life. I would say that if a child has a negative outlook on everything there might be some deeper issues there. 

Unless they are in trouble kids more than likely have a good upbeat attitude. Life is great for them. They are fed, clothed, and normally have toys to play with. And even if they don’t they will pick up a stick or some rocks and be glad they have anything.

Life can be hard for parents. From experience, we will look at a situation and think it is hopeless. But we really need to learn from our kids here and try to stay positive. 

This negativity that we instill can start to wear down our kids. If you notice as they get older that positivity really wears thin. But is that from personal experience or is that because we as adults have stifled their positivity?

Always look for the good in things. Even if every time you know someone is going to let you down, have hope that things will change. Feed off your kid’s positivity and look at it from their perspective.

Imagination

Dads can learn imagination from watching their kids play - toys on playset
Dads can learn imagination from watching their kids play

Have you ever seen your kids play with a toy but instead of doing what you would expect they totally flip the script on how to play with it? For instance, they have a baby doll that all of the sudden becomes a car. Or they have a kitchen set that becomes a stage for their toy animals.

When was the last time you used your imagination like that? When we become parents we lose a little of that imagination. But there is a way to fix this. Get down on their level and play with them. Indulge in their imagination and it will rub off really quick.

I love the show Bluey on Disney. The parents on that show know how to tap into their imagination and make playtime with their kids seem unreal. If you haven’t ever watched the show I would suggest giving it a go a time or two. You may find some interesting ideas to unlock your imagination and make playtime with your kids all the more fun.

Keep moving/ Being Active

Sometimes I just wish the kids would be still for 5 minutes. They love being active and moving around and always going.

Wouldn’t you love to have just an ounce of that energy? 

You can. Get up and move with them. Stay healthy and exercise and once you get your body in motion it will stay in motion. I know all too often I get tired and want to just sit down and relax. But then I look in the mirror and I am not happy with what I see.

Use your kid’s energy as a reminder that you need to keep moving and be active. Always strive to be healthy so you are around for your kids. If possible never use your health as a reason why you can’t go play with your kids.

Having fun

Recently we took the kids to a popular restaurant. The wait time was over an hour. And there really was no place for them to get up and move. So how did they pass the time? They found a curb and walked up and down on it like a balance beam. They took what was boring and made it fun.

All too often when we get bored what do we do?

I bet a majority of dads would say they pull out their phones. Maybe they scroll social media or check emails.

What happened to our joy? What happened to our fun?

Just try it the next time you are bored. Don’t worry about looking silly. If you are with your kids and they start to play, join in. Do what they do. I promise you won’t regret it.

Curiosity

Dads can learn to be curious from our kids - Son reading about Dixon Cave
Dads can learn to be curious from their kids

How many times have you told your kids to put something down? Maybe they found a bug and picked it up or maybe it is something around the house.

They aren’t trying to be bad. They are just curious. It comes naturally to them and it is one of the main ways they learn.
When was the last time you were really curious about something in life? When did you see something in nature or maybe in a museum and really pay attention to it? Did you Google it to find out more about it or did you just move on?

We should always be learning. Not just for our own benefit but so we can also pass that information on to our children. When they are young and curious they will ask lots of questions. And the more answers you have the more they will look to you like you are the smartest person in the world.

Laughter

My kids will wake up some days and just start laughing at each other. I hear them over the monitor and I really can’t see what they are doing. But whatever they are doing they think it is just hilarious.

Kids will get tickled so easily and laugh at any silly little thing. If you think about the crazy shows we used to watch as kids and what kept us entertained you understand that the joy and laughter of your kids are just pure magic.

Find that joy in your life once again. If you find you aren’t laughing much or the joy is gone do a deep dive into what is going on and rekindle your joy. Laugh with your kids. Be silly with them and listen to them laugh. It can get contagious real quick.

Learn the art of telling dad jokes. Sure they might groan a few times but eventually, you can laugh at yourself and even your kids can start telling the jokes. Remember laughter is the best medicine.

Express emotions

When our kids are young they are really good at expressing emotions. Not only will their face show how they are feeling but they will come right and say it. “I’m sad daddy” or “I love you mommy”. 

When we become parents we try to hide our negative emotions. We have this weird notion that our children shouldn’t see us sad or upset. But they need to see that from us. Remember they can empathize extremely well and may actually be able to offer some comfort.

Don’t be scared to let your emotions show around your kids and others. It’s ok to be sad, it’s ok to cry. If you bottle it up then others may not know there is something wrong with you. And that can lead to darker places like depression.

And it isn’t just negative emotions we can hide. We can show our joy and happiness. We can laugh and have joy. Most people don’t struggle with that side of their emotions but if you don’t hold it in anymore.

Resiliency

Have you ever seen your kid do something that looks like it really hurts, but they shake it off? If you say something to them then they might start crying and acknowledge it actually did hurt. But their ability to just ignore what just happened is crazy.

I’ve also had my kids just be absolutely devastated because they didn’t get their way. Then as soon as you give them what they wanted, it’s like nothing ever happened.

This resiliency we see in our kids is what we need in our lives. Bad things will always happen in our lives. But it’s how we respond to those bad things that define us as parents.

Your kids are going to get sick. Your kids are going to do things that will upset you and make you unhappy. But you need to be just like that child that fell down and got back up again and shake it off.

Remember to leave the past to the past. Remember to move forward and not look behind. Yesterday was yesterday and the only thing that matters is what is in front of you.


Kids are amazing little human beings. They don’t act or do things you would expect of other adults. They are funny, loving, and resilient. They show qualities that are so advanced that it puzzles us. But there are also times they act just like kids.

Remember those times your kids amazed you with their actions. It made you smile and think “wow those kids are so smart”. Be more like them, learn from them, and encourage them when you see those behaviors.

Is there something you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

4 comments

Isn’t it amazing what we can learn from our children once we pay attention? What a great article and what a great dad you are for realizing this! I love all of these points, but mostly the loving blindly and empathy….so true! Thanks for the great read!

I love this! We can learn so much from children! I love that you are doing a dad blog there are so many moms doing this, but dads are just as important. A community is needed for dad’s as well!

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