I can give a very sharp, loud whistle. It started as a simple goal in my boyhood. Little did I know how important a tool it would become in my parenting toolbag.
My clan knows the Dad Whistle well. It’s a particular call that is unmistakeable to not only my adult sons and daughters, but my daughters-in-law and grandkids as well.
Gathering The Troops
At it’s simplest, my Dad Whistle comes in handy to rally the troops when deemed necessary. It serves as a dinner bell, a time-to-go signal on the playground, or homing device when scattered in a crowd.
A couple of years ago, I confirmed it’s effectiveness just for fun. While enjoying Silver Dollar City as a family, my oldest son and his kids were ahead of us in the crowd. I gave The Whistle. At 33 years old, my son stopped and turned toward me. It was involuntary on his part—years of training had kicked in.
My grandkids have been—and are being—trained now as well. They simply know that when The Whistle is heard, they stop, look for Papa, and say, “Coming!”
Listen To Your Father
As practical as the Dad Whistle can be, there is a greater significance. It trains a child to heed Dad’s instruction.
My favorite chapter in the book of Proverbs is chapter 4. Here are the three pivotal verses:
Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction;
pay attention and gain understanding..
Listen, my son, accept what I say,
and the years of your life will be many…
My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.” Proverbs 4:1,10,20
The point is: listen to your father. Pay attention and your life will be better.
There is no one who has more God-given potential to be your child’s life coach than you.
Even the simplest of training, such as quickly responding to a whistle, helps to instill the habit to stop, look for Dad, and listen. If done early and consistently, the training yields a reflexive response. When your children get older, they will turn to you and won’t even know why!
My kids generally call me when celebrating something or find themselves in new territory and need advice. They don’t really think about it—training just kicks in. It all started with a whistle.
Use Your Whistle
You may not know how to whistle—no problem. And this applies to Mom as well. Whether it’s call, a clap, whatever, establish it as the cue to stop, rally, listen. It may stop a child from getting hurt, or help someone find you in a crowd, or simply gather everyone for dinner.
But, most importantly, it will be another reminder to listen for Dad’s call—or Mom’s—to pay attention and live better as a result of following instruction.
Question: What have you used to train your kids to look for you and listen? Share your answer in the comments below.