I love spending precious time with my grandchildren, and in my role at the synagogue, I actively participate each week in activities with children in my congregation. As a rabbi, I have spent time counseling young parents where the wife says that her husband does not care to get involved with the kids, or that he does so only with reluctance. Listening to the fathers, I hear that they want to spend time with their kids, but by the time they get home are exhausted from the demands of work. It’s not that they don’t want to be involved; it’s more a matter of time and energy.
Kids learn very early to read adult emotions, feelings and actions. They know when we are fully engaged and enjoying the interaction or just going through the motions. A few minutes away from the smart phone and computer should be appreciated by dads, especially when spent with children’s unwavering love.
Engage in activities that both father and kids enjoy. Some of the simplest activities, like reading, talking or taking a walk together are those that children may miss in a world of multimedia entertainment.
I found out that as I spent more time with my kids, our times together became the highlight of my day. Even a simple walk around the neighborhood with my daughter when she was younger would encourage a dialog about why she favored a certain doll or what type of music she liked. When one of my daughters was a young teen, we went to Six Flags and rode the scariest rides together. I’m not sure who had the loudest scream or greatest laughter.
As a rabbi, I look forward to spending time in religious school or services with the kids in my congregation. When I am with them, I can let the child in me emerge and just have fun. Dads, remember to have fun with your children. All lives will be enriched.
Rabbi Steve Fisch is the spiritual leader of Congregation Shir Tikvah, the reform synagogue of Frisco, 7700 Main St., in Frisco. For more information, call 214-500-8304 or visit ShirTikvahFrisco.org.