OK guys, this one is for you. I mean all of you Dads out there. I have a news flash for you. We should spend more time with our children. I believe that is a true statement. I also believe that we don’t have a clue about how to go about it. I come to this conclusion based upon the desperate pursuit of happiness and frantic pursuit of indulgence, which is displayed in our culture. I’ll tell you what it’s about, and what it’s not about. It’s not about spending our money on our kids. It’s not about taking them to amusement parks or exotic, far away places to purchase their affection. It's not about buying them every toy or gadget or thing that goes vrroooom. It’s about finding time and spending that on our kids. It’s about sharing ourselves with them. It’s about simple pleasures and sudden magical moments that cannot be contrived or designed, or purchased with a ticket, or started with a key.
Think back to your own childhood. Do you have any “special moments” that come to mind? I’ll bet that you do, if you will just allow yourself to think for a moment, back to those simpler, innocent times of childhood.
I will share one of mine with you, to help you get started. It is one of my earliest recollections. I must have been about four years old. I know I was not yet five, because I hadn’t started school. I remember my father taking me to Helsing’s coffee shop in Scottsdale for breakfast. It was just he and I. Everybody else had gone off to their daily routine of work or school. We would sit in a booth and he would have a bear claw and coffee. I would have a single scoop of chocolate ice cream in a fancy dish. I don’t remember what we talked about. I suppose we talked about whatever came into the mind of a four year old boy. I don’t remember the waitress, or much about the surroundings of the coffee shop. What I remember is feeling good because my father, a very important man, wanted to spend this time with me. For that moment, he was all mine. There was no one else competing for his attention…siblings, work, friends, they were all removed. We were all alone in the universe, a father and his youngest child. I don’t know what the tab for that meal totaled… maybe five or six bucks? It was a priceless investment, nevertheless. I’m sure that my father had no notion of the importance of this moment to me, that it would be such a significant and formative memory for me later. He was just doing what dads are supposed to do. He was just loving me.
Let’s admit it men, we are not exactly tuned into our relationships. We know so little of the effects that we have on the lives of those around us, especially our children. We must remind ourselves occasionally to do a “status check” on our relationships.
Have you forgotten to love your children lately? It’s never too late, as long as you are alive. It doesn’t cost much, just a little of your time. Don’t worry about how to go about it. It will take care of itself. Just turn the TV off, get up and go do something with your child. Take a walk, go throw a Frisbee in the park, play a board game, get in the car and drive… when your kid asks you, “Where are we are going dad?” just say, “I don’t know, let’s see where the road takes us.” Whether you’re skipping rocks on a pond, or sitting on a bench at the mall eating ice cream, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is being there together, spending your real treasure on them... your time and attention.
Some day they will thank you for it. Even if they don’t, they will remember, and by remembering, they will know that you loved them, and that for one special moment, there was just the two of you, alone in the universe.