Because parenting is a big topic, we have monthly themes for Wise Fathers. Not everything will be related to the theme, but they are related to what we think will be most interesting to our readers during each month.
January – Building
Dads build. Not all dads, and not all the time, but it is one of the activities most of us most strongly associate with dads, right along with the related activity of repairing. In addition, many Cub Scout units have their Pinewood Derby in the early winter. Designing and building those cars is a common father-son activity, and one with a surprisingly large variety of products and rules surrounding it.
Whether it’s a model one of you received for Christmas (whatever year, or decade, that might have been), a tree fort, or a new lamp, this is the month we tackle it.
February – Relationships
Yes, Valentine’s Day is the reason this topic is in February, but it isn’t just about romantic relationships. Siblings, extended family, grandparents, godparents, friends – we all have a ton of relationships in our lives and our kids are no exception. Helping them learn to negotiate all these relationships is no small task.
My parents, being smart people, realized that as our kids became teenagers, they wouldn’t want to visit any more. They are tricky, though. They had our boys try skiing because they live near a ski resort. One now loves skiing and will probably keep coming to visit them as long as they live there, just so he can go skiing. In my book, that is grandparenting, master level!
March – Outdoors
It starts getting warm, and gardeners start growing plants indoors, in March. After a long, cold, windy, wet, or otherwise generally indoors winter, it’s time to start going outside again. Even if you live in an area that’s warm all winter, there is something about spring that makes us all want to be outside more. This is a good time to start thinking about how you will share your favorite activities in the warm months to come.
Biking, hiking, gardening, exploring, building – whatever it is you and your kids like doing outdoors, now it s good time to start preparing, or maybe even doing.
April – Moms & Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day is in early May, so Wise Fathers is focusing on moms and mothers in the weeks before that because, let’s face it, a Wise Father doesn’t ignore Mother’s Day for either the mother or grandmothers of his children.
This year, we’re giving you a little help.
May – Dad’s Wishlist
Father’s Day is in June. It can be hard for moms to figure out what dads want for Father’s Day and, really, for lots of other things, including anniversaries and birthdays. Plus, honestly, sometimes we just like to share cool things we’ve found.
This month, Wise Fathers focuses on cool things we think dads will like.
June – Travel & Vacations
Schools out for summer! Yep, it’s that time of year. Vacations and travel don’t have to be anything massively large, expensive, and time-consuming. Almost anywhere you live, there are interesting things you can drive to for a day trip. For the many millions living in big cities, when is the last time your family went to the big tourist spots there? (If your answer is “never”, you aren’t alone.)
If you are short on funds, take a day-trip or maybe a family road trip. Some of the best places are ones you see on a highway sign or find in the brochures at a highway rest stop. Take a chance and try something new! You never know how great a memory seeing that giant ball of twine might be.
July – Citizenship
The Fourth of July is a big patriotic holiday in the US, but it isn’t the only one. The National Park Service has a ton of great activities, many of them free, at the National Parks, and in the US, fourth graders can go free and take the whole family with them (also free). State and county parks also often have free or inexpensive special events, especially during the summer. If you are on vacation, check out the government-funded parks wherever you are visiting. Some of them are spectacular.
Summer is a good time to visit some places like your state capitol and public parks (county, state, and national). Take some time this summer to visit places (like your capital) that most of us leave on our “someday” list until we die, having never actually gone there.
August – Games & Playing
There are so many kinds of games. Some involve physical movement like tag. Others may be online games that you can play as a family unit. Then there are my favorites: card and board games. Board games are awesome! When we play them – which is admittedly not often enough – our kids have a blast. And of course, sports are part of this!
The number and variety of games available today is truly amazing. Take some time to explore something new with your kids, maybe a favorite one of the Wise Fathers writers shares.
September – School
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Yep, back to school. (OK, most really start in August at that point, but September still feels like back-to-school month.) The basics are always reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic, but the details of how those are taught and what else they are learning is amazing, not to mention the rules parents need to know so they and their kids don’t get in trouble can be overwhelming, especially when you are starting out. When my eldest was in preschool, he and a friend played “The Hugging Game.” It looked exactly like wrestling, but they both knew they would get in trouble in preschool for “wrestling” but not for “hugging.” That was not the first, or last, time we have worked around silly (but well-intentioned) school rules.
Whether it’s choosing a preschool or helping your kid cope with not getting into their first choice college, there is a lot to talk about related to school.
October – Cooking
“Boys cook. Girls don’t.” That’s what one of the kids in my son’s preschool told me, and I loved it! My boys both love baking because they know that if they bake it, they can eat it, but there is a lot more for them to learn. Whether you are in a time of privation like the Great Depression (when this mural was painted) or a time of plenty (like the picture shows), knowing how to cook enables you to make food just the way you like it.
Starting with very basic skills, we have thoughts on kids and cooking.
November – Traditions
The Holiday Season is chock full of traditions for most of us, but this is about more than just the holidays. Family movie night can be a tradition. Pizza after playing soccer (or while watching soccer) can be a tradition.
While it may not be a tradition in the strictest sense, our eldest son and I go to a large Lego convention every year and display Lego MOCs (My Own Creation – in other words, not sets designed by someone else). In May, both boys make cinnamon almonds with me to give their teachers for Teacher Appreciation Day. Traditions don’t have to be old-timey activities like cutting down a Christmas tree – although it’s great if your family does that. The important part is that they are fun and matter to your family, not that they sound fancy or impressive to someone else.
December – Faith
Yes, the focus for most of this will be religious faith since it is the December theme, but there are other kinds of faith as well. Believing in yourself and those you love is important. Taking a leap of faith to try something new keeps us young. No matter how you define faith, it is important.