zen habits : breathe

Why I Love Being a Dad

What is a home without children? Quiet. - Henny Youngman

By Leo Babauta

So Eva and I decided to treat our kids by taking them to a water park, complete with slides and pools and fun stuff like that. It was a reward for the sacrifices they’ve made as we strove to become debt-free, and a celebration for the success of some of my recent projects.

I told my three-year-old son, Seth Isaiah, that we were going to the water park:

Seth: (excited) Are we going today?

Me: No, we’re going tomorrow.

Seth: (pauses to consider) OK … but next time? Can you make it today?

Me: I’ll do my best.

I took my other son, Rain, to the video game store for his 10th birthday the other day. He’s an avid gamer, so I thought I’d give him a treat: “You can have any video game in this store,” I said. “Any game.”

He could have chosen the $100+ Guitar Hero III or the even more expensive Rock Band. He looked around for awhile … and chose a $30 strategy game similar to Risk.

I shook my head in wonder.

Our oldest son, Justin, was enjoying the cookies n cream ice cream we got the kids as a treat while we were at the water park.

He cracked the other kids up when he made an exclamation about the ice cream in a Southern accent (he jokes around a lot).

We heard the kids laughing and laughing, and I asked them what was so funny. “Justin said, “Ah love this delicious ass-cream!’ ”

Ah ha ha ha ha ha!

My middle daughter, Maia, has been excited because she’s growing a lot … if she reaches the four-foot mark, that means she can go on the bigger slides at the water park. It’s been a goal of hers for more than a year.

We got to the water park, and she was very excited and proud, because she measured herself at the sign that says “You Must Be This Tall To Go On These Slides”, and she was tall enough. She was so happy.

It turns out, her hand was slanting upwards diagonally from the top of her head to the line on the sign, so she mismeasured herself. And she wasn’t quite tall enough yet. And the lifeguard stopped her, and she walked away in disappointment.

I almost cried for her.

My oldest daughter, Chloe, is in high school, and she’s into gadgets and MySpace and Rock n Roll.

She recently really wanted an iPod Touch, and every now and then she’ll ask me about my ebook sales or blog earnings. I’ll report my earnings to her honestly, and then instantly regret it — she translates those earnings into the number of iPod Touches I could buy.

Her latest craving is a drum set, which she has priced out at $1,000. I was recently giving her a talk about investing, and how your money can earn more money for you. I said, “… so for example, if I invest $10,000, and my investments make 10%, that’s $1,000 I’ve earned by doing no work at all.”

Chloe: “You know what you can buy with that?”

Me: “Three iPod Touches?”

Chloe: “Yeah … or a drum set.”

A father carries pictures where his money used to be. - Author Unknown

My 21-month-old daughter, Noelle Cayce, is the bossiest of my six children. She’s tiny, but with a deep, husky voice, and she’s very loud.

She likes to yell at me: “No, Daddy! No!” While shaking her finger at me, a stern look on her face.

It’s good to know who’s boss.

I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it. - Harry S. Truman

What did I get from our all-day stay at the water park? Sun burn. Exhausted body. Empty wallet. And an amazing day spent with Eva and the kids.

We finished the perfect day off by sitting on beach chairs at a white-sand beach, watching the sunset together.

I love being a dad.



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