I can remember the scene like it just happened yesterday, although it occurred about 20 years ago.
There I was driving my daughter and a neighbor girl home from a kids club activity at our church when I heard my daughter say to her friend, “My special time with my dad is on Tuesdays. When is your special time with your dad?”
The other girl looked at my daughter like she was talking another language. I cherish that memory. Why?
Because I’ve got five children with my oldest being twenty-eight years old. I understand how busy life can get, but ever since my kids were little I have tried to have regular “special times” with them. I haven’t always been consistent, but I have tried. Those individual times were so meaningful to me and to hear my daughter ask that question to her friend conveyed something so innocent and so right–its what fathers should be doing–making their kids feel special.
A “special time” could be going to McDonalds or getting an ice cream somewhere, or it could be just taking a walk with them. The point of getting together was that this was their time with dad.
Kids are smart enough to know that their parents are busy people with a lot of responsibilities. They don’t grasp what every activity means, but they can see that their parents have a lot going on. So, when a father especially, puts everything aside to say, “for this hour or few hours, I just want to hang out with you”, well, that is special- it conveys in a tangible way that their life matters and that they are loved. It reinforces the “I love you” that a father says to his child by their action.
Oh, one other benefit that comes with starting early on with having these special times with your children is that when they are older and come in to their teen years where life just gets crazy for everyone, taking your kid out to talk with them about what’s going on in their world will not be a strange thing. Why? Because you’ve already established that habit and your child knows that they are still special in your eyes and you want the best for them. How cool is that?
Go on, and love on your kids!