In his letters, Seneca writes about the habit of finding one thing each day that makes you smarter, wiser, better. One nugget. One quote. One little prescription. One little piece of advice. And that’s how most of Seneca’s letters close: Here’s a lesson, he says. Here’s one thing.
Obviously that’s the logic behind the daily emails I write (Daily Stoic and Daily Dad) but it’s also the way I try to live. Every time I listen to a podcast or record one myself, I try to grab at least one little thing. That’s how wisdom is accumulated — piece by piece, day by day, book by book, podcast by podcast.
So today, coming now a few days after a quiet Father’s Day camping with my kids along the Llano River in Texas, I wanted to share some of the best pieces of parenting advice I’ve picked up from conversations with people on the Daily Dad podcast (which you can subscribe to here), reading, and interactions with other ordinary parents.
If you’re a parent or will be one day, these are 25 pieces of advice you will want to regularly return to:
-When your child offers you a hand to hold, take it. That’s a rule I picked up from the economist Russ Roberts. You might be tired, you might be busy, you might be on the other line — whenever they reach out, whenever they offer you a hand to hold, take the opportunity.
-There is no such thing as “quality” time. On my desk, I keep a medallion that says Tempus Fugit (”time flies”) on the front and “all time is quality time” on the back, so I think about Seinfeld’s concept of quality time vs. garbage time every day.
-This solves most problems. When you’re grouchy and frustrated and anxious and short with your spouse and your kids — you might just be hangry. In 2014, Researchers from Ohio State University found that most fights between couples are because someone is hungry. Same goes with parents and kids and between kids, I imagine.
-Just be. Before we had kids, I was in the pool with my wife. “Do you want to do laps?” I said. “Should we fill up the rafts?” “Here help me dump out the filter.” There was a bunch of that from me. “You know you can just be in the pool,” she said. Now when I’m with my kids, I remind myself, Just be here now. Just be here with them.