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You Only Get 18 Summers

Since finding out I was becoming a dad in late 2013, I have always been a little apprehensive. Partially due to lingering trauma from growing up in the “raised by stray dogs” and “run down to the store with this note for a pack of smokes” parenting strategies of the 1980s, and partially because being a great dad is so important.

The most effective way to manage this apprehension is to share with and learn from other dads, and to go to sleep each night knowing that you were present and engaged with your kids today. I find a lot of useful motivation and insights from following other dads on social media who share their perspectives from many different angles and backgrounds.

Tyler Todt shared on X that “we only get eighteen summers with our kids; and although the days are long, the years are short.” He’s not wrong. Wipe that single tear and go out and make 2024 the best summer of your family’s lives.

Wellness days are for more than the man cold. They’re for your mental health too. Use a few to improve it by spending time outdoors, and racking up vitamin D exposure while also making forever memories with your family. The opportunities are endless, and mostly low or no cost. Some of the most fun I’ve had with my kids has been playing in the splash pad at Gibbons Park, and racing sticks down the river from the bridge like Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin always did. Road trips to Port Stanley to play in the water and stop for Shaw’s ice cream on the way back is a heck of a $25 day.

Like Ryan Holliday states in his excellent daily email newsletter The Daily Dad, “all time is quality time”. We live in a beautiful city surrounded by nature and culture. Londoner Cedric Richards writes an excellent free Substack full of exploration ideas, “Southern Ontario Journal”.

Turn on the screen time-limiting apps for both yourself and your kids. Don’t forget your water bottles and sunscreen, and go have fun. No regrets. 


Jeremy McCall is a married father of 3, a social services case manager, and known as “The Dadfather”, being the founder and Past President of Dad Club London.


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