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My son got married recently. The ceremony was amazing and the emotions were tough because my wife was not there. However, the joy of the day and the pride I felt for my son radiated through the pain. In fact, it was all I could do not to lift my fist up into the air when he came out with the pastor at the beginning of the ceremony. It felt like he was crossing the finish line. One of the most amazing parts of the ceremony happened during a song, I closed my eyes and had a flashback of his life from birth to now. The images played in my mind, but I did not see every detail of his life. What I saw were the moments and memories.
Life with children will always be a wild ride, and often as dads, we deal with our insecurities wondering if we are doing it right. Dads have a special place in their children’s heart and as such, have a special responsibility. The goal in our relationship with our children is to create the moments and memories that help form our children for their lives. To make moments and memories, we need to remember two things.
Moments take Time
Moments with our children live in the many seemingly everyday things that happen as they grow up. We never know what will be a moment so we need to create as many as possible. The only way to do that for sure happens when we make time to just be with our children. Children do not understand productivity and schedules. They understand time and attention. When we show our willingness to just spend time with them, the moments will naturally flow. With my kids, it was pillow forts, pretend store, storytime, etc… They just wanted my time and attention and wanted to know that I wanted to be with them.
As children get older, our moments are often centered around activities they participate in. The key remains giving them time and attention, but not vicariously living through them or being a second coach to them. Yes, we are their biggest fan, but they do not need to hear us put the coach or other participants down. We can help them if they ask for it and we should push them to finish commitments, but we must remember that our worth as a father does not depend on our child’s abilities. Many dad’s stay focused on their own appearances and desire their children to make them look good. Our focus as dads should be child-focused and communicate to our children that their worth to us does not depend on the success or failure of their activity, but on the fact that they are our child.
Memories take Intention
Special memories can happen by accident, but most special memories take intention. Intentional work to make something special will guarantee more special memories in our children’s minds. These memories do not have to be expensive but do have to be focused. Throwing money at a child will not always make a special memory. Spending time on an event geared to our child will always make a special memory.
I tried to do this with birthday parties. Starting at a young age, I tried to invent creative birthdays for my children. We would do elaborate scavenger hunts, karaoke parties, etc… Looking back the parties were probably pretty lame and many of them I invented only a couple of days before. However, to my children the memories are legendary. My birthday creativity often came from a lack of funds to do something elaborate, but these parties became an expectation every year. In fact, my son’s friends still talk about his birthday parties, especially the one where one guy almost got shot by a neighbor, but that is a long story….. The main point remains that the intention of our time pays off in the memories of our children. Dad’s cannot check out when it comes to making memories. They must take the initiative to pour into their children’s lives.
Time and intention remain strong keys to the hearts of our children. As dads, we should stay focused on giving our children the time and intention they need to make sure they feel secure in our love. This security generates genuine success in every area of their life.
What do you need to do to take more time for your kids?
How can you intentionally make a memory this month with your child?