One of the most satisfying, yet challenging parts of being a dad is taking/making the time to connect with your children. It might mean a regular “date” with your son or daughter, teaching them a hobby, going to their sporting events, and/or participating in small group activities with them like bible studies, Boy or Girl Scouts, or Pinewood derby model making. Admittedly, most of my involvement with my children wasn’t achieved because of a plan but out of what they were currently doing. There is certainly nothing wrong with that. However, the most enjoyable times were those that I actually planned and carried out.
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For instance, the year long bible study my son and I did with 5 other dads and their sons, culminating in a celebration event of a two day camping outing for all of the dads and sons, was intentional and memorable. I intentionally decided to coach my daughters soccer team so that I could be with them and help build character and sportsmanship into their lives.
I also wanted them to build their lives on a foundation of spiritual significance. So, I spent a lot of time in their early years reading bible stories, discussing biblical principles in age related ways, memorizing scripture and trying to have regular dinner-talk where faith and life intersected so they could see that faith and life are inseparable (or supposed to be).
There are a lot of fathers who’ve done a much better job of making time with their children a priority in their lives than I have. The issue isn’t who is doing it best but whether you are doing it at all. Think about it: if you and your child live to average ages, the window of years where you can truly impact their lives is probably about 10-15% of your life. It doesn’t end when they grow past their teen years but much of who they’ll become has been formed by then. And, staying involved in their lives as they become adults and have families is critical, too. Yet, early investments of time and involvement will never come back void and are very difficult to replace.
For the next few days, I’ve asked men who are at varying stages of their fatherhood and to share the way(s) that they have intentionally connected with their kids. None of us would tell you we’ve done it perfectly. But, there has been an internal desire to connect with our children in a way that will leave a legacy of good in their lives, let them know we love them and, hopefully, honor God.
We hope that you’ll find an idea or two over the next week that will help spur some effort on your part to begin or encourage you to continue a lifestyle of purposefully finding ways to connect with your kids. Additionally, we would love to hear how you choose to spend quality time with your children. Whether it’s a distant relationship because they are grown or separated due to life circumstances (military, divorce, etc) or a life stage (preschool, adolescent, high school, etc), we can always find ways to continue the God-given opportunity we have as dads to “konnect with our kids”. We hope you enjoy and share in this weeks offering!
Read our first guest post tomorrow, March 23. Steve Davis, a former Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force and a great friend of mine, will share how he’s stayed in touch and connected with his 4 children through years of being gone in military service and helping adjust through multiple moves throughout the United States and Canada.
And, if you read this would you consider sharing this article via Twitter and Facebook? Our desire is not to simply see DadPad grow in numbers but to reach more dads so that we can collaboratively lock arms and help each other become better at this role called Fatherhood. There are very few classes or training courses offered in this area. We’ve found that being a dad is a lifelong effort at getting incrementally better each day. And, it’s done better together. So, share your thoughts and these articles. Thank you.