10 Ways to Be a Better Dad from John Legend
John Legend isn't afraid of a dirty diaper. Of course, after headlining many a concert, revealing vulnerability in unfamiliar places for a living, and marrying the funniest person on Twitter, Chrissy Teigen, you'd think he wouldn't fear much. And the new father of two swears by only two things for navigating the mysteries of fatherhood: mindfulness and intention.
These two philosophies help keep Legend thoughtful and present in his fatherly duties. Whether it's taking notice of Luna's need for alone time with her parents, or paying attention to the ingredients used in the products they give to her and Miles, Legend brings these principles into each choice he makes. He teamed up with Pampers for Father's Day to talk about the lasting importance of all those seemingly small moments. (He even wrote a song about changing diapers. Watch below.) He let us in on a few of them.
True presence is key.
I think most friends of mine that are dads want to be good dads. We all want to be as present and helpful as possible, and I’ve gotten a lot of advice on that. But really, it's just deciding you want to be present in your family—and a constant reinforcement of that.
Time is a trap.
It’s surprising how quickly time flies by since becoming a dad. The days seem to be long, but overall, everything moves much quicker.
Kids grow faster than you expect.
The most fun part about being a dad so far is seeing how quickly they learn things. Watching Luna be able to hold a conversation and interact with people and have a sense of humor is really awesome to see.
Make any time family time.
I was lucky enough to be able to bring Luna out on tour, which meant we could stay present while working. We liked taking her out to restaurants, aquariums, whatever. It actually makes the whole trip more fun, and gives you the motivation to go do things you wouldn't normally want to do. You're not just going to sit in a hotel when your kids are there.
Sibling jealousy is real.
Luna has been getting jealous since Miles came. We like taking her out on a date by herself, especially out to lunch.
Be kind when it comes to picking products.
Every parent is just looking at the landscape of products available, and it can be overwhelming. We like Pampers Pure because it doesn't have fragrances or allergens. Every parent is going to make different decisions based on their kids out there. For this, we like that it's easy on their skin.
Fatherhood doesn't have to kill your style.
My style hasn’t changed dramatically since becoming a dad, but I think part of it is just that I'm getting older. I want to look cool, but still age-appropriate. I've never been the flashiest dresser. I’ve always kind of had a mix of things that are edgy, but still kind of subtle or classic. That’s my personality, and fits a 39-year-old.
To be a good dad, just use your brain.
It’s not really rocket science. It’s about making sure it’s a priority. Spend as much time as you can with your partner and your kid and help shape them into good people.
Raise your kids to follow their own path.
I just want my kids to do really great things in the world, whatever that means for them. It might mean financial success, it might meant making the world a better place. I want them to make a positive impact and grow and learn and listen.
Being a dad is about setting your priorities in the right place, listening to your partner and paying attention to what they might need. It's not letting work or outside distractions take away from those moments. You can read all the books you want and get all the advice you want, but the key is doing it with intention and mindfulness.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.