Happy Dad

The Perfect Father’s Day

A few questions about how you define “perfect” this Father’s Day.

 


 

Is the Perfect Job the one that pays you all the money you ever wanted and gets you all of the accolades you deserve for being the best at what you do?

OR

Is the Perfect Job the one that gives you all of the time you ever wanted with your kids and gets you all of their respect for being the best dad?

 


 

Is the Perfect House the one that impresses your friends and colleagues and makes you feel like you accomplished something with your life?

OR

Is the Perfect House the one that you fill with memories of time spent with your kids and makes them feel like you love them with your life?

 


 

Is the Perfect Father’s Day the one where you get to do everything you want and check out on fatherhood for the day as you escape into your fortress of solitude?

OR

Is the Perfect Father’s Day the one where you give everything you have and check out what your kids love to do as you escape the shallow definition of fatherhood our culture has given us?

 


 

I challenge you to redefine “perfect” this Father’s Day. Because after all, perfect, like most things in life, is a matter of perspective.

Happy Father’s Day from all of us at Happy Dad!

Three Things I Wish I Knew as a New Dad – Jason Clark

Happy Dad Intro

I can’t tell you how excited I am for this first guest post to the HappyDad community.

Jason Clark is one of those guys you just want to hang around. In my post on Living. Risk the Average Life for the Extraordinary I talked about how certain places have a certain vibe to them that calls us to be extraordinary. Well Jason Clark has a cool vibe to him and he calls me to be extraordinary.

His words and life are saturated in humility and love. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did and I pray that all of us can bring that special Clark vibe into our own homes.

Happy Dad

P.S. – I’m telling you right now if you haven’t read it already you’re going to want to get Jason’s book Prone to Love. Especially after you read this post.

Dad Stats

Name: Jason Clark

Experience: 16 years (Married 20 years)

Roster: 1 Boy & 2 Girls

Favorite Dad Quote: “It’s not poop, it’s chocolate” Me, after checking the brown smudge on a bathroom light switch. 

My Three Things
Identity Over Behavior

She was having one of those 5-year-old moments; she sat on the floor, her heart was heavy. Why, because she had lied to her momma and if that wasn’t bad enough, momma had caught her doing it.

Karen sat down on the floor with her and kindly said, “Eva, honey, you need to change…” Karen trailed off waiting for Eva to finish the sentence. But Eva had committed to the floor and the tears. Karen spoke more determined, “Eva, look at me. You need to change… what? What do you need to change?” Karen was looking for a specific answer and both her and Eva knew what it was.

While Karen lovingly disciplined our daughter I realized just how much our parenting had matured over the years. We have grown in our understanding that discipline is about revealing and empowering identity. We have discovered our primary calling as parents is not to teach our kids how to behave but to reveal to our kids who they truly are in Christ.

If Eva lies about something, our greatest desire is not for her to learn and understand the consequences of lying. Our greatest desire is for her to know that she is not a liar.

Our heavenly Father doesn’t see her as a liar. He sees her in the finished work of Christ as stunningly honest. So if she lies, she is not acting like how our Father sees her.

As parents, it is our privilege and charge to release and empower all our kids into the truth about who they are – their identity.

This means we have to teach true repentance. Repentance isn’t some ugly, self-loathing burden; it’s not a form of punishment but a beautiful privilege.

Repent simply means to change the way we think; it’s an about-face. Repentance is about changing our mind until we are in agreement with God’s. It’s the good news!

And that’s what we are teaching our kids. So when there is an issue where their hearts are self-focused, where they have lost their identity they will often hear one of us say, “Change the way you think.” And our kids understand that what we are saying is, “Start thinking about yourself like your heavenly Father thinks about you.”

Here’s what I have discovered: if we learn to agree with how our heavenly Father sees us in Christ, we will start acting like it. Why, because behavior always follows identity.

Karen was still on the floor with Eva. “Eva you are honest, that’s how your Heavenly Father sees you. You are kind and sweet. Eva, change the way…” Then Eva, who had just been given a necklace from her Aunt Aimee that read, “I’m a world changer,” looked at her mom and with a sudden sunny attitude and a mischievous grin, said, “The world?”

Change the world. Yes, that will work too! In fact, if you become brilliant at changing the way you think and agreeing with how your heavenly Fathers sees you then you can’t help but change the world.

Questions Empower Creativity & Freedom

Dad, “Honey, do you want some crackers for your soup?”

Maddy age four, “Why?”

Dad, “Cause crackers taste good in soup.”

Maddy, “Why?”

Dad, “Cause they are yummy soup crackers.”

Maddy, “Why?”

Dad, “Because the soup cracker fairy made them yummy for soup.”

Maddy, “What color is the soup cracker fairy’s dress?”

Dad, “Blue.”

Maddy, “No daddy, it’s pink and purple.”

If you are a parent, or have ever spoken to a child, you have laughed, sighed, had your heart expanded and your patience stretched to the max while attempting to answer questions.

If you are a parent, or have ever spoken to a child, you also know that questions are how our children learn.

Karen and I have discovered that creating a culture where sincere questions are valued and welcomed is so important because it not only helps our children learn, it also helps us discover who they are becoming.

The question reveals a lot about what is happening in the heart of our kids.

If you are a parent, or have ever spoken to a child, you have often responded to a question with a question of your own.

Maddy, “Mom, how do you spell dog?”

Mom, “What makes the sound duh?…duh?”

We do this because our question positions our kids to discover the answer. We create opportunity from their question for them to think and pursue and expand their hearts and minds into the answer.

By valuing the question, by stopping and guiding them into an answer, we help them learn how to process freedom and creativity of thought. We give them permission and encouragement to explore the answers. It helps them mature. If you think about it, that’s what Jesus did with His followers.

Jesus rarely answered a question directly? When He was asked questions, His response was often to either tell a story or ask a question of His own.

That’s because questions are one of the best ways to empower a culture of creativity and freedom. And using a question is one of the best ways to communicate with a free people. Jesus was absolutely intent on releasing people into greater freedom. That’s why He lived, died, and rose again.

God absolutely, and without even the slightest hint of deviation, loves our freedom. He will not compromise even a fraction when it comes to protecting it because freedom is the atmosphere in which love exists. It’s my desire to do the same for my children.

Discovering His Presence In Every Moment

I lay in bed with Ethan, his head resting on my arm. We listened to the storm blowing just outside his window. Ethan was nine.

Ethan loves football. He thinks about it at least half of the time. For years our bedtime routine has involved a homemade game. I lay on the bed and he sits next to me. One of us will throw a football up to the ceiling and then we play receiver/defender and wrestle over the ball while Ethan gives the commentary—“Interception!” or “The ball is loose,” or “Clark has stripped the ball away,” which we both giggle at because we’re both named Clark, or “Touchdown,” and “The crowd goes wild!”

Normally bedtime becomes a frenzied father-son wrestling match. But on that night we just lay motionless, mesmerized by the wind- whipped rain that was being hurtled against the house. Earlier we had stood on the front porch spellbound by the power of the storm. To us it seemed a small miracle that the trees in our front yard weren’t ripped out of the ground and flung like matchsticks at the neighboring houses.

I finally broke the silence. “Ethan, what’s your heavenly Father saying to you right now?”

“He loves me?” he said, looking at me for conformation. 
I confirmed it with a hug. “He does! Do you believe Him?”
My beautiful boy grinned, “Yes.” And he did. I could see it all over his face.

“Do you know that He is pleased with you? Do you know that He finds you amazing, and His greatest desire is that you believe and know His always-good love?”

Ethan listened quietly; we were having a God-moment. “Do you know that He is in this room, His very presence?”

We lay a while longer, peaceful in the midst of a storm.

Finally Ethan asked the question I’d set up. “Dad, how do you know when God is speaking to you; how do you know His presence?”

“Bud, our heavenly Father’s presence is always with us and He is always speaking to us. And He is always saying one thing: ‘I love you.’” I waited a moment, as the storm continued its powerful display, to let it settle and then added, “Our heavenly Father is always asking one question too. Do you know what it is?”
He shook his head. “He’s asking, do you believe me? Son, if you want to become more aware of His presence in every moment, it starts with believing that He loves you.”

I have discovered that to know and become aware of Gods presence in greater measure, we must become convinced of one thing; God is love and He is always good.

When we lean into this faith, when we live expecting His goodness regardless of our circumstances, then our hearts are open for an encounter, a revelation, a new experience with the power of His loving presence.

I have learned that the extent to which I’m convinced He is love is the extent that I can recognize when Love is in the room. And He is always in the room!

I am growing daily in my awareness of Gods love. It’s my life’s one true ambition. It’s Ethan’s as well. And this journey into His love starts with simply saying yes. It’s the same yes we all said that first glorious day we knew our salvation.

I don’t want my son or my girls to know the names of God but never experience the interpretation. I want them to know closeness with Gods love, His presence. I want to create opportunity for them to grow sure in His affection.

Recognizing and saying “yes” to His love is the most profound and impactful thing we they will ever do. Of this I am convinced. Knowing His loving presence is the key to living fully free, a life of faith, a life where every dream is available and every impossibility is made possible.

As my kids dad I want to be a catalyst to their encounter and discovery of Gods perfect love for them, of Gods daily presence. It’s my greatest charge, joy and honor.

May we as parents grow sure in Gods perfect love and empower our kids to know their identity and become sure in His love as well.

Blessings,

Jason Clark

Some of this article is pulled from the pages of my latest book entitled Prone To Love

From Happy Dad: If you want to learn more about Jason or have him come speak at your next event or conference, be sure to head on over to JasonClarkIs.com as his schedule fills up fast.

2 Important Ways to Show Your Children How Valuable They Are

I cried when I scratched my tennis racket.

There I said it. It feels good to get it out.

I was a young budding perfectionist. Only in some things mind you. But most perfectionists tend to be that way. They are only perfectionists in certain areas. In other areas they don’t seek perfection at all. But that’s an article for another day.

I was playing tennis with my new racket and I guess I’m one of those people who doesn’t have a low gear when it comes to sports. Although, now that I’m getting older my higher gear isn’t as high as it used to be. But still, if I’m going to play something, I’m going to dive for the ball if I have to. Just sayin’.

Because of this, my identity as a perfectionist collided with my identity as an all out player and something had to give. The all out player won, and as I dove for the ball, my new racket and my perfectionism paid the price.

It was totally scuffed up, and I cried.

“That’s a funny story Joe,” you might be thinking. “But what does a crying boy and a scuffed tennis racket have to do with showing our children how valuable they are?”

Everything.

Resetting My Scales 

I tell that story so you can see how important things were to me.

My grandpa took immaculate care of his things. His lawn mower was probably in better shape fifty years after he bought it than it was the day he bought it.

I’m no where near that level of ability. But it’s in my blood.

So as those of you with children know, my identity as a perfectionist (in some things) and my identity as a HappyDad were about to collide.

I could only value one thing the most. Either my children or my things, and if the answer was my things, I was going to need a serious reset of my scales.

I Love You More Than Pickles.

I Love You More Than Pickles SignI can’t tell you the whole story, because I don’t remember it. But at one time in our house, or maybe multiple times knowing the level of pickle addiction my children have, something happened and a jar of pickles broke.

My wife and I had a choice. Get upset over the thing, in this case a jar of pickles and the kitchen floor, and teach our children that the thing was more important than them, or calmly respond and show love to them, and teach them that they are more valuable than the thing.

It probably didn’t happen the first time, but one of the times that a pickle accident occurred. The words came to me to say, “I love you more than pickles.” 

And it was true. (We actually found a sign that said this later on. So cool.)

The child’s value to me was far greater than that jar of pickles. But so many times as parents we forget that the lessons we teach our children now will guide their lives for years to come without them even knowing it.

The daughter who believes she is worth less than material possessions will settle for a man who treats her like one.

However…

The daughter who knows she is worth more than material possessions won’t settle for a man who treats her like one.

AND

The son who believes he is worth less than material possessions will sacrifice his family for them.

However…

The son who knows he is worth more than material possessions won’t sacrifice his family for them.

Trained to Protect 

I heard a story once of how secret service officers are trained to protect the president.

I’m not sure if it’s true or not, but I’ve always loved the analogy in regards to parenting.

Our natural reaction to the sound of a gun shot is to duck and hide. That’s perfectly normal to any sane person considering the circumstances.

But a secret service agent’s job is to protect the president. So this natural reaction is completely unacceptable and brings to mind the saying, “You had one job.”

In order to overcome it, they put them through vigorous training to reverse their natural reaction. Instead of ducking and hiding at the sound of a gun shot, they are trained to stand and put their body between the shot and the president.

After their training, this new behavior becomes their natural reaction.

So what does that have to do with parenting?

Everything…

Trained to Love 

When you hear a loud crash in the house. What’s your natural reaction?

For me it was, “What did you do?” My value system was set on things being important. This may not seem like a big deal to some of you, but to me it was.

I knew that by keeping that natural reaction I was going to be modeling and teaching my kids that things should be more important to them than people too.

So I started becoming mindful of this and putting myself through my own training.

Instead of saying, “What did you do?” when I heard a loud crash. I started to say, “Are you okay?”

I had to do this with my wife too. 

Because if my children saw that I valued things more than her, it wouldn’t matter what I told them, my behavior to their mother would outweigh my words to them.

It didn’t happen over night and I still have to be mindful of my response, but I’m proud to say I’ve gotten to the place now where, “Are you okay?” is probably my response 8 times out of 10.

You’re More Important 

This lesson isn’t just for your own kids or spouse either. As parents we have the extended honor of being able to speak into our kids’ friends’ lives as well.

Teaching them their true value just as we are learning to teach our own kids too.

I’ve had quite a few opportunities to do this as I’m sure you will as well.

When you do, the best words to say are, “You’re more valuable than…” or “You’re more important than…”

Here are a couple of stories to help illustrate it.

Just recently, I’ve had the opportunity to do this twice. The first was at our youngest daughter’s birthday party.

As I came around the corner to the garage where we had some decorations up, one of the little girls had tears in her eyes and I asked her what was wrong.

She said she had jumped up to grab some of the streamers and accidentally pulled the entire string down.

Thankfully my training had paid off and I simply smiled and said, “Don’t worry about it, we can put them back up and you’re way more important than decorations.” 

You could see the weight lift off of her as the guilt was washed away with the realization that she was more important than those decorations.

It’s fun too see this and I know you’re going to love it too.

The next time, was when our oldest daughter had a friend over and they were cooking in the kitchen. As she was grabbing some spices she accidentally knocked over the salt shaker and it broke on the floor.

Once again I was faced with the choice of, “What did you do? or Are you okay?”

Thankfully, once again, I chose the latter which leads to, “You’re more important than a salt shaker.”

Sometimes even just a look is enough too.

One time we were out with a family at a restaurant and afterwards we were heading back to our cars.

Their car was next to our van and their boy had run ahead to get in the passengers side of their car. As I turned the corner and came between our cars where he was, I got there just in time to see him throw their door open right into the side of our van, leaving a noticeable white mark in the side of our van.

His face was like a deer in headlights as he looked up and saw me. Only by the grace of My Heavenly Father did I smile back at that boy, sensing his freedom he jumped into his car, closed the door and sat wondering if I was going to “rat” him out.

I ran my hand over the mark, gently opened my door, sat down and smiled over at him again.

I don’t know if he’ll ever remember that, but if I had yelled and made a bigger deal over a dent in my car than a boy in need of love, I guarantee, whether he knew it or not he would have been fighting with a negative value of himself for years to come, maybe even far into his adult life.

Reset Your Scales 

It doesn’t matter if these words have convicted you of the out of balance scales that you have in your own life or not.

What matters is, if you’re going to make a change or not.

If you decide you will, here are the two ways you can show your children how valuable they are:

1) Ask Forgiveness 

All too often as parents we think we have to present some sort of “all knowing perfect persona” to our kids. We aren’t God. We will mess up, and they need to learn the gift of forgiveness through us.

If we are unwilling to show our vulnerabilities to our children, they will be unwilling to seek our advice for theirs.

So ask them to forgive you for your mistakes. Let them know you are sorry for valuing things more than them and that you want their forgiveness for it.

Tell them you’re going to work on resetting your scales and you might not get it right every time, but that you’re going to keep working at it.

When you mess up and revert back to your old natural reaction, be quick to ask forgiveness and start again.

Have this conversation with your spouse too if you need to.

2) Train Yourself to Love 

It’s going to take time and practice. Just as I mentioned in the story about the secret service agents, it’s going to take time for you to exchange a negative natural reaction for a positive one.

If you believe in prayer, ask Dad for help. Ask Him to give you peace in these situations, the words to say, and the mercy and love to say them with.

But no matter what, keep practicing. 

Be sure to forgive yourself as you seek your children’s forgiveness too.

Let it Go

If you’re a parent in this day and age you’re more than likely familiar with the song from Frozen – “Let it Go.”

I apologize that it’s now stuck in your head for the rest of the day, but there’s a good reason for it I promise.

For many of you, your own parents may have taught you through their actions and words that things were more important than you.

Before you are able to model this new behavior for your own children, you may have to let any bitterness you have for that go first.

You will have to extend them forgiveness for that as you seek forgiveness from your children for your own shortcomings.

Parents are never perfect. As I’ve said before and I’ll say again, “Happy isn’t perfect.”

Happy is the choice you make to love your children (spouse, parents, others) in the absence of perfection (theirs and yours).

So whenever you feel that bitterness come to mind, I want you to think of that song and Let it Go! If you get annoyed by the song, hopefully it will become connected to that bitterness and you’ll get annoyed with that as well until you can let it go.

I’m Proud of You 

I want to close with a thank you for taking the time to read this. It is proof that you do care for and love your children.

If you don’t think anyone else in this world is proud of you, I want you to know that I am.

You are more important than things. You must believe it about yourself or it will be incredibly more difficult for your children to believe it about themselves.

You are more important than things and I am truly proud of you.

Press Here – Happy Dad and Kids Book Review

Title: Press Here

Author: Herve Tullet

Illustrated by: Herve Tullet

Age Range: Littles (1+)

HappyDad’s Review

This is such a fun book.

Interactive Reading for Everyone

I know I said this book was for “littles,” but even my nine year old enjoys this one. Everyone gathers round in anticipation for their turn to interact with the book.

Simple Creativity

In an age of iPhones, iPads, computers, tablets, smart TVs and more, it’s really refreshing to see my kids interact withe the simple creativity of Press Here. No special effects, no high definition graphics, just an incredibly clever book that will grab your child’s imagination.

Don’t let the simplicity of this book fool you.

HappyDad Rating: FIVE Silly Faces

5 Silly Faces from HappyDad and Kids

HappyKids’ Review

James (5 year old boy)

I love it. I like it. I love it. I like to press the buttons and that’s it.

Ava (6 Year Old Girl)

You’re going to have to do what it says, otherwise it doesn’t work. If you don’t do what it says the rest of the pages will stick together 😉 It’s a fun book to read and it’s a nice book for kids.

Shaw (9 Year Old Boy)

It’s a fun book where you can press stuff. I like being silly and seeing what happens when we push the different things.

Bella (12 Year Old Girl)

Too old for this one 😉

Bring Press Here to Story Time and Support HappyDad

You can get Press Here on Amazon and support HappyDad in the process just press here 🙂 Press Here

Thanks so much for supporting us as we help dads (and moms) connect with their kids!

How to Make Your Kid’s Birthday Memorable

I’m going to let you in on a little HappyDad secret to make your kid’s next birthday the most memorable birthday ever.

Nope, it’s not that unbelievable goodie bag, cake, decoration combo you saw on Pinterest. It’s much simpler and way more fun than that.

Do Something Remarkable!

I have to give credit to my friend Arthur Greeno, for the “Do Something Remarkable” saying. He’s set multiple world records and put on a race where people took turns running in giant hamster balls around a course and then up and down a giant inflatable slide. Yep, remarkable is his middle name.

So whenever I face a question of what to do in a situation, I have a little Arthur on my shoulder whispering, “Do something remarkable.”

Best Fast Food French Fries Ever
How-To-Make-Your-Kids-Birthday-Large-Resolution

So this week, as we sat eating dinner for our youngest daughter’s birthday, a crazy little thought popped into my mind and I went with it. I gotta say, Julie (the HappyKid’s Mom), gets a little anxious when she sees that look in my eye.

So after dinner, we all loaded up in the mini-van and started out in search of the “Best Fast Food French Fries Ever.” I told the kids we were going to visit every fast food restaurant in the area with a drive thru (since it’s been raining here for the what seems like forever) and order a single bag of french fries. Then we’d each give our rating of them and tally the votes.

Make ‘Em Laugh

One of my favorite songs from a musical is the song, “Make ‘Em Laugh” in Singing in the Rain. So whenever the opportunity presents itself, we try to laugh. So as I was ordering the first set of fries, the HappyKids dared me to say Thank You (insert random Youtuber name here).

I took them up on the challenge and it was totally worth it. I hadn’t heard them laugh that hard in a long time. So the next time you get a chance, go for the laugh with your kids and care more about what they think of you than what some random stranger does.

And The Winner Is…

So after visiting 9 different fast food restaurants and trying the french fries at every single one, we all agreed on one thing. No one wanted any more french fries 😉

But seriously, here are our rankings averaged out from lowest to highest:

Braum’s 1.5 Silly Faces

1-and-a-half-Silly-Faces

Whataburger 2.5 Silly Faces

2-and-a-half-Silly-Faces

(Note: The five year old rated these an 8. But we only have a rating of 1 to 5, so we made it a 5.)

Burger King 3 Silly Faces

3-Silly-Faces

Jack in the Box 3 Silly Faces

3-Silly-Faces

Sonic 3.5 Silly Faces

3-and-a-half-Silly-Faces

McDonald’s 3.5 Silly Faces

3-and-a-half-Silly-Faces

Carl’s Jr 3.5 Silly Faces

3-and-a-half-Silly-Faces

Wendy’s 4 Silly Faces

4 Silly Faces Rating on Happy Dad and Kids

Chick-fil-A 4 Silly Faces

4 Silly Faces Rating on Happy Dad and Kids

 

Congratulations to Wendy’s and Chick-fil-A for winning the first ever Happy Dad and Kids Best Fast Food French Fry Ever competition. But no matter what, the fact remains that this will be a birthday, that all of the HappyKids will remember for a long time.

Always Pick Remarkable

So the next time you have a choice between another Pinterest Perfect party or doing something out of the ordinary and completely remarkable… always pick remarkable and make your kid’s birthday one they will never forget.

A Game Dad’s Can Play With Their Kids While Mom is Shopping

It’s the cliche of married couples. The wife is shopping while the husband sits impatiently in the chair waiting for her to finish. In today’s cliche, he might be passing the time on his phone, but when you add a few little HappyKids to the picture, Dad’s waiting gets a lot tougher.

Not All Cliches are True

Before I go on, I need to admit with great relief that not all cliches are true. I actually enjoy shopping with my wife most of the time. Honestly, every husband should. I mean, we get to pick out outfits for them to try on, come on guys, think about it. 😉

But there are some times, especially when the HappyKids are with us, that the waiting game isn’t the one we want to play.

Cultivate Creativity

As parents, you know I feel that one of our greatest responsibilities is to cultivate creativity and curiosity in our children. The mall is no exception. So instead of playing the waiting game you can try cultivating creativity with your HappyKids and playing the retail game below, or come up with your own.

Price Breaker

On one especially long shopping trip, Shaw and I were getting impatient, so instead of letting it get the best of us, we cultivated our curiosity and created Price Breaker. It’s a simple game that teaches comparison shopping and helps pass the time.

Here’s how you play:

All players have to start at the shopping cart or another mutually agreed upon place, usually close to mom. Then each player gets a certain number of steps (each round you can change the number allowed) to go find an item that is lower priced than the other player’s item.

An Example of Round 1:

Each player gets 5 steps to go find a lower priced item. This is a great opportunity to teach your HappyKids about sales, percentages (40% off) and comparison shopping. The person who finds the lowest priced item wins that round.

You can play all of your rounds that way or you can change the goal in each round. Other goals you can try are:

  • The highest priced item
  • The item closest to $10 or another specific amount.
  • Three items that equal a certain amount.
  • Etc.

The great thing about the game is you can change it up anyway you want and make up your own rules.

Do We Have To

The other thing you’ll enjoy about this game is you and your kids go from waiting to playing and when mom is finally done shopping and says, “Let’s go.” You might just hear your HappyKids say, “Do we have to?”

If you’ve created games that take you from waiting to playing in your life, let us know on Twitter or Facebook and use the hashtag #RetailGames we’d love to hear about it.

Jenga Double Stack – A New Way to Play an Old Favorite

Instead of the typical game review today, the HappyKids and I wanted to share a new way to play Jenga with you.

Double Stack

We call it Jenga Double Stack. I know, it’s not super creative and if you have a better name for it, be sure to send it to us on Twitter or Facebook. But for now, that’s what we’re calling it.

Set Up

It’s really quite simple, and I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before. Honestly, kids are some of the most creative people I know. Which is why I love hanging out with them, because they challenge me to see things in a new way.

Instead of setting the game up with one single tower like usual, you simply divide the tower in half. You can build them close to each other or farther away. Just make sure you leave enough room to make your plays throughout the game.

Game Play

You’ll play just like regular Jenga with the following exception. You can take from either tower and place your piece on either tower. So you can pull from Tower A and stack it on Tower A or if you want you can stack it on Tower B. The same goes for Tower B.

At certain points in the game you might want to favor one tower over the other depending on your strategy.

How to Win

We played with three people which worked great, because when one of us knocked over the first tower the remaining two people were able to keep playing to see who won. If you have more people you could use the typical Jenga rules and once the second tower fell you could re-stack them and play with the remaining players.

Create Your Own Rules

So there you have it. Jenga Double Stack! How about your HappyFamily? Do you have any “house rules” for classic games that you play? If you do, we’d love to hear them on Twitter or Facebook so let us know.

If you don’t, try making up some new rules the next time you play your favorite board game.

You can get Jenga on Amazon and support Happy Dad in the process if you don’t already have it. Just click on this link to buy: Jenga on Amazon

The Book With No Pictures – Happy Dad and Kids Book Review

Title: The Book With No Pictures

Author: B.J. Novak

Illustrated by: N/A

Age Range: Littles (2+)

HappyDad’s Review

This has got to be one of my new favorite books.

Creativity and Imagination Abound

I’m a huge fan of creativity and imagination. Cultivating these things in our children is some of the most important work we can do as parents. Stifling these is one of the worst things we can do to you our children and the world.

So a book with no pictures might not seem so creative at first thought, but sometimes limits can spark a creativity in ourselves and our children that we never knew existed. B.J. Novak shows a clear and present creativity in limiting himself to writing a children’s book with no pictures and I love it.

Challenge Your Kids

In fact, just the idea of this book is a great tool to use with your kids to cultivate creativity. Have you kids tell a story with no words. Can they act it out? Have your kids eat a meal with no talking. Can they sing for their supper?

What limits can you impose to unleash your children’s creativity in new ways?

Giggles For All

Just because there aren’t any pictures, don’t let that fool you into thinking the book is dry or dull. In fact, I feel The Book With No Pictures is sillier and funnier than a large majority of children’s books with pictures. Again, a huge testament to the authors own creativity.

Be ready to have some fun, as your kids giggle themselves to sleep.

HappyDad Rating: FIVE Silly Faces

5 Silly Faces from HappyDad and Kids

HappyKids’ Review

James (5 year old boy)

I love it daddy. I love it. (whispering…) I don’t know. Me like the robot monkey. Me love it. That’s it daddy.

Ava (6 Year Old Girl)

It’s really funny. It’s hilariously funny and there is a rule to books that you always have to read what they say even if they say silly things.

Shaw (9 Year Old Boy)

It’s an awesome cool book and it’s really funny when my dad says things that are really silly because it’s a book with no pictures only words and it’s the funnest book in the world.

Bella (12 Year Old Girl)

A very funny and hilarious book. I like watching my dad say stupid stuff and I never knew my dad was a very lonely person whose best friend is a hippo.

Bring The Book With No Pictures to Story Time and Support HappyDad

You can get The Book With No Pictures on Amazon and support HappyDad in the process. Just click here –> The Book With No Pictures

Thanks so much for supporting us as we help dads (and moms) connect with their kids!

Living. Risk the Average Life for an Extraordinary One.

Do you remember that moment? That time when you felt inspired to be something better, do something better, go somewhere better? That call to rise above the magnetic pull of mediocrity to something greater, something extraordinary.

It happens to me when I visit some of my favorite places on the planet, listen to my favorite speakers, read my favorite authors, spend time with my favorite people, look at my favorite art or listen to my favorite musicians.

Risk Average

The older I get, the more I believe there are moments, places, people and ideas in this world that say to us,

“Don’t settle. Don’t waste a single day on average. Come be adventurous and risk the average life for one that will be filled with stories to be told.”

These moments can be a person we meet or sometimes even never meet, a place we go, a thing we see or an idea we have or have shared with us. They are different for each of us but their call is the same,

“Risk the average life for an extraordinary one.”

Travel Seasons Us

Travel Seasons Us Happy Dad and KidsI love the quote from Mark Twain, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

When you travel, you travel more than the earth beneath your feet, you travel to new places in your soul that you never knew existed before.

You come in contact with all of those things that call us to be extraordinary. You meet new people, you go new places, you see new things and you think new ideas.

Travel seasons us. It makes us better people by changing our perspective.

Beautiful Abilities

This month I was able to travel to Salt Lake City for the first time and I didn’t know what to expect. It was a business trip and I got to spend some amazing time with the all star kids and doctors at the Shriners Hospitals for Children there.

Every time I meet the kids and staff at these wonderful hospitals I am blown away by their perspectives, attitudes, and zeal for living.

The doctors and nurses have a love for these children and their families I haven’t seen anywhere else. They treat them as if they are their own children and it shows.

These children and their families deal with unbelievable medical issues, some from the moment they are born, and yet they are some of the happiest people I’ve ever met.

What some people would see as disabilities, these children have turned into the most beautiful abilities I have ever seen.

They call me to be extraordinary.

The Unique Vibe of Places

I believe every city or place you go has a certain vibe to it. Some of my favorite ones are the islands of Hawaii and the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. These places, have a special place in my heart and it’s because of their unique vibe.

I think Salt Lake City may make it’s way onto my list of places I love. At least during the summer, as I’m not a huge winter sports guy, unless you count making snowmen with the kids a winter sport.

But each of these places have a laid back feel, as if they don’t care what pace the world is going at, they’ve set their own pace and determined what’s important to them and it isn’t being in a hurry.

These places call me to be extraordinary.

People Who Matter

There are people we know who call us to be extraordinary.

It could be a first love, or a love that has passed the test of time, or maybe a great friend or family member that you always look forward to seeing.

Maybe you respect them for their character or talents. Maybe they’ve just been there for you when you’ve needed them the most or perhaps they’ve stood by your side during life’s highs and lows and you couldn’t think of anyone else you trust more.

No matter the history, the fact remains that your world lights up even when you think of them.

There are also people who we’ve never met that call us to be extraordinary.

We may have read a book or article by them or heard a story about something they’ve done. More often than not, they’ve lived lives in pursuit of something better, something that called to them to risk the average life and be more.

Whether you know them personally or not, these people call us to be extraordinary.

An Idea Worth Living For

Those people we haven’t met, but that call us to be extraordinary, are probably some of the great men and women who have given up their lives for an idea they thought was worth dying for, and many times they’ve become heroes that show us a better way.

But for most of us, we won’t have to make that choice, but rather the choice we face is finding an idea worth living for. We hear stories of those who gave up everything to pursue a dream or a cause and it inspires us to live extraordinary lives.

It forces us to think beyond ourselves and into a world filled with people uniquely different than us. These ideas challenge us and ignite a driving force inside of us that begs us to make our world a better place.

These ideas call us to be extraordinary.

Call Your Kids to Be Extraordinary

It’s our jobs as parents to put these types of people, places and ideas in front of our children in order to fill them with a zest for life that calls them to be extraordinary.

In order to do that we have to model that same appreciation for these things that we want our kids to have, and even more importantly, we have to model our own action in chasing after these things and break free from being too easily amused with the mediocre.

This is the reason I started HappyDad. I can’t ask my children to chase their dreams if I am unwilling to take the risk to chase mine.

I must jump wholeheartedly into a pursuit of my dreams, and only then, can I call back to them to pursue their own dreams as recklessly as I am my own.

I call my kids to be extraordinary.

Will You Live?

So the question is, will you live?

Will you risk the average life for the one that pursues the extraordinary?

Will you model a life of adventure for your children or one of excuses?

No matter your choice, you will be teaching them how you think they should choose.

I’m scared, but I am alive.

I’m afraid, but I am moving.

I’m chasing my dreams.

Don’t die before the end of your life. Rise up today and start living.

If not for you, then for your kids.

See you on the extraordinary path!

How about you? What inspires you? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter.

Rummikub For Kids – Happy Dad and Kids Game Review

Game: Rummikub For Kids or Rummikub Start Right

What does the box say?

Age Range: Little and Bigs (4 and up)

Number of Players: 2 – 4

Short Description: Develops number and color recognition skills, teaches players how to build sets of consecutive numbers and logical reasoning.

Game Length: 10 – 15 minutes

Learning Curve: About one game.

HappyDad’s Review:

It’s been raining here in Tulsa for weeks, or at least it feels like it. Which means we’ve been catching up on our game playing, so it isn’t all bad.

Love and Games

So tonight we pulled out another of our classic go to games – Rummikub For Kids. Which it looks like now they’ve changed the name to Rummikub Start Right.

I can remember one of the first times I met my wife, she was playing Rummikub with some of her friends. In my family we always looked forward to game night, so knowing that she liked to play games definitely sealed the deal for me.

Also, as you can imagine, this was one of the first games we wanted to get for our kids since we both had fond memories of it.

The Eye of the Tiger

I have no idea where she learned it, but somehow my daughter learned one of the most motivational songs ever in human history and I’m a little scared quite frankly.

Because when your six year old daughter starts humming “The Eye of the Tiger” while playing you in a board game you can be pretty sure she’s about to take you out.

In fact, you can be 100% sure. She took me out.

HappyDad Tips for Winning

We’ve always been a pretty competitive family, and Rummikub For Kids is no exception.

So there are a couple of things you need to know when taking on your own 6 year old Rocky.

The first pro tip is that you don’t want to be the first one to lay down. Everybody thinks laying down first is best way to play, but inevitably the person who lays down second or third wins because they have more options for going out.

The second big tip is what I call the reshuffle. Take an extra minute on your turn to see if you can reshuffle some of the tiles already on the table. Many times you can get rid of those last pesky tiles by simply splitting up a few that have already been played. So don’t be so quick to end your turn.

That said, my family has threatened to institute a play clock more times than I count. So don’t milk it too much. 😉

Quick Play and Confidence Building

One of the reasons we like this game is because you can play it quickly if you don’t have a lot of time. But if you do have a lot of time, you can play a few rounds.

The other reason we like it is because the littles can usually win at the game even against older siblings or me. It’s always fun for them when they know they’ve won a game fair and square.

Although it does shake my confidence from time to time. It’s fun to see them get so excited. Just so long as they don’t start humming “We are the Champions” I’ll be good.

HappyDad Rating: 4 Silly Faces

4 Silly Faces Rating on Happy Dad and Kids

HappyKid’s Review:

James (5 Year Old Boy):

I like it. I love it. I play it. I like it. I love it. Let me see. I love it. Ava, there’s yours. Hmm. (Stretching legs) That’s it.

Ava (6 Year Old Girl):

It’s a fun game. It’s fun to play. It’s a pretty easy game even though sometimes it can be complicated and I like it. That’s good, do you think?

Shaw (9 Year Old Boy):

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 Best review ever. Oh, and Wild.

Bella (12 Year Old Girl):

Really fun game you can play with your family. Little kids really like it.

Get Rummikub For Kids for your family and support HappyDad

You can get Rummikub For Kids on Amazon and support HappyDad in the process: Rummikub For Kids on Amazon

Thanks so much for supporting us as we help dads (and moms) connect with their kids!