March Dadness, Round #2: Difficulty of Fatherhood

Picture this. It’s the second grade and math class is in full swing. Each kid scratching their head or tapping their #2 pencil on the desktop as the teacher talks arithmetic. But there’s something amiss. Two kids are in the back of the room, building card castles. Are they in trouble? How could they be? They’re playing while the rest of the class is working.

Hello Dads! I was one of those kids. And no… we weren’t in trouble. We just aced the math work before everyone else, so the teacher excused us to the back of the room to build card castles. It wasn’t a perfect system.Think of it this way. The teacher was giving us opportunity to be “unschooled” as we dueled for the tallest castle (using math, of course).

Speaking of math, how’s your bracketology going? Selection Sunday just passed and the first round begins any… time… [tic, toc, tic…] I took Kansas all-the-way for the 26th straight year. It’s safe to say that I really like the Jayhawks. Anyway, let’s check back with our REAL brackets. Congratulations Dads! You have made it to Round #2 of March Dadness.

Round #2 – “How Difficult IS Fatherhood, Dad?”

You may not have been perfecting the art of card castle construction as a 2nd grader,  but have you ever tried? I’ll pause for dramatic effect… [Jeopardy music plays…]

Okay good. To anyone who said NO, “Ouch, I’m so sorry!” You’re never too old to start. It’s simple. Lean and lay. Got it, if not… Google it!

Follow these simple instructions and begin. Get cards and build! The winner is the master builder with the largest and tallest card castle.

[More Jeopardy music…] I have to check my brackets one last time anyway. Be right back.

You didn’t like those instructions, did you? I did it on purpose because of the PERFECT segway into this week’s convo-starter. Most Dads aren’t given instructions to this “fatherhood” thing. Let’s do the card castles again, but this time with the conversation of fatherhood.

You are the 3-seed in the East Bracket and expected to win this one. Your opponent has been gunning for you and wants to take you down. As your March Dadness coach, I’m going to draw up the plays to secure the “W” and ticket to Round #3.

1st Play: When you lean two cards together, did you notice that they slide? As an experiment, try to build a simple triangle with two cards on: (1) hard-surface floor, (2) carpet, (3) rubber or mat.

Tell your son that the “stickier” the surface, the better the castle. Explain that being a Dad is hard, but the first step is to decide to stick around, no matter what.

2nd Play: Now that you’re sticky, let’s build the right base. You can align your triangle pieces or construct them in a circular pattern before you start laying down the “first floor”. There are other methods too, but which will prove most durable?

Explain to your boy that the foundation is really, really important. What we believe and place our trust in will determine the strength of your fatherly influence… or the strength of our card castle.

3rd Play: I never told you how many cards to use. Ha! You probably got one deck and split them up. But isn’t that limiting? What if you had 10 decks each? Ask your child. “How many cards were we supposed to use?”

He’ll say, “I don’t know.”

Now you can say. “Son, being the best Dad requires lots of cards. The more cards, the bigger you can build. Each ‘card’ could be a book, a podcast, a conference, a church or church group. Cards are resources.”

4th Play: You’re ahead by 15 points and this game is in the bag. Go for the jugular and execute these final two plays. Google “best card castles” and see what you can mimic.

“Being a Dad is difficult and we need to find those doing it well, and copy them. That’s called finding a mentor. My mentor is (_____).” (Name your mentor. If you don’t have one, get one.)

5th Play: Ask your son, “What was the time limit for this activity?”

He’ll say again, “I don’t know.”

Perfect, you’re in the closing minute. You’re soooo close!

“Son, the more time we invest together into our card castle, the stronger it will become. It’s the same with being a Dad. We have to spend time together.”

Now pause while your son beams back at you.

Round #3, here we come!

If you are interesting in learning more about Dadnamics, which includes interactive and creative ideas to connect with your kids… go to I hope to meet you because we’re all on the same team, Dads. 

Written by Ken Carfagno, Founder of Dadnamics



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