Being a good dad begins before your kids are born

Being a dad is still cool even though my kids are no longer young and precocious.

Celine, 21, is finishing up her senior year at Stanford and will be working her first real job in Chicago next fall and has already said she wants visits. Brandon, 18, is a freshman at Michigan State although we can’t quite get the boy out the house because of Covid-19.

They are good young adults who I suspect will remain on the right side of the law and be productive members of society. My goal for my children were for them to have a better chance at life than I did. It all seems to be working.

Now I come with some advice for young fathers. Rule number one is become a good father even before they are born.

When my wife Abs was seven months pregnant with Celine, we played classical music at night before Celine settled down for the night. Studies show that classical music stimulates the brain even before they are born.

Then I would speak to Celine for five or 10 minutes, telling her how much we already loved her and could not wait for her to join us in the world. And it was exciting to see her kick and move around in Abs’ stomach. I think she heard me.

Celine came out of the womb crying like most babies. But something funny happened. My job was to walk her from the operating room to the hospital room. I looked down at our bundle of joy and said: “Welcome to the world baby. We love you and are going to take care of you.”

Celine stopped crying and gave me a look as if to say: “So you are the guy that’s been talking to me.” I felt like we had our first bonding moment. And then she began to cry hysterically again.

Brandon gave me that look also after he was born.

Young dads want to get their kids the most up to date toys and gadgets for their kids. I do not discourage that but I have a cool toy that my kids loved. Buy a galloon plastic milk bottle, drink all the milk, and then wash it out.

Now fill the container with one third water, tighten the cap, and give it to your young kid when they are old enough to crawl and move around. My kids played with that thing for hours.

I even passed the tip along to former NBA player Steve Smith. He said his kids went crazy over the milk bottle too.

The last piece of advice is to always be there when they need you. In life things can go smoothly for six months, six weeks or just six hours. But at some point tears will flow and you have to figure out how to stop them. The tears could come from a bad scrape, a bad break up or they mourn the misfortune of a friend.

Let me confess. When the tears flowed I never knew what to say to help my kids. But when you take the time to show them that you care the right words magically appear and the next thing you know is you all break out in laughter because another crisis is behind you.

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Published by terryfoster8

I am a 58 year old retired sports journalist, husband and father of two living outside of Detroit in search of his next big adventure in life.

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