“Every day, in a 100 small ways, our children ask, ‘Do you hear me? Do you see me? Do I matter?’ Their behaviour often reflects our response.” These are the wise words from L.R. Knost, a children’s writer and child advocate. Our challenge as Dads is to answer that same question.
On Saturday, 11 December, I had to organise an all-day national prayer event on Zoom. I needed some help, so I reached out to a young dad who is a Zoom expert and who had previously offered to help me with such things.
When I rang him, he said ‘yes’ to my request. Steve said that he does archery with his three young boys, aged 12, 10 and 8, on Saturday mornings, but he could rearrange that and be available all day.
I was thankful for his willingness to sacrifice his time for my request. Yet at the same time, I was deeply troubled that I was impinging on the sacred act of a Dad doing things with his kids.
Thankfully, I was able to cover his early morning shift with someone else. My conscience was now clear, and he was glad too for my thoughtfulness.
But let me tell you who were the gladdest. His children!!!
As L.R. Knost says, “Every day, in a 100 small ways, our children ask, ‘Do you hear me? Do you see me? Do I matter?” Thankfully that question was answered in the affirmative on that Saturday. Sure, some of the kids’ arrows might not have hit the target, but Dad sure hit the target by keeping his sacred compact of hanging out with the boys on the archery range. And not just hanging out, but doing something together. That is even better.
Jackie Bledsoe is a passionate father of three, and his article called “10 Things Dads and Kids Should Experience Together” is really worth the read. You will have to go to AllPro Dad to read the last three things that dads should do with their kids.
Being a dad is a rewarding, challenging, and fun job. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Being a father is filled with many experiences, some better than others. As we all desire to be the best dads we can be, to be All Pro Dads, we do our best to create experiences for our kids to enjoy.
If we are honest, some of these experiences are intended for both father and child. I think that is the reason we, as dads, often get labeled as adult kids. Because we seem to have just as much fun as our kids. Here are 10 things every dad and kid should experience together.
- A road trip.
Remember road trips as a kid? I do. I remember the summer of 1985 when I was 10 years old. Our family packed up our blue station wagon and drove cross country from Indiana to California to visit family. At the time, two of my favorite things to eat were turkey sandwiches and grapes, and I had my fill of both on that trip. We had so much fun, and those memories are still with me today.
- Run in the sprinklers or play in the rain.
This is just plain fun for everybody. Yes, you’ll have some soggy shoes, socks, and clothes, but they will dry out and can be washed. The fun can’t be washed out though. That’ll stay with you for a while.
- Play and watch your favourite sports.
I grew up playing little league baseball, basketball, and flag football. My dad used to coach and teach my brother and me the games. We also used to go to professional games. In particular, baseball and basketball became fun activities we bonded over (still do today). Now I do the same with our kids.
- Build a fort in your living room.
Get boxes, tables, chairs, blankets, pillows, and whatever else you need to make the best fort you can build together. Then get flashlights, snacks, toys, and enjoy yourselves hanging out inside your fort.
- Give piggy-back rides, play horserides (on your knee), or put them on your shoulders.
Our youngest is almost too big for all of these, but I still enjoy carrying him on my shoulders and doing piggy-back rides when he asks. This is a must for dads when your kids are younger and smaller.
- Daddy-daughter dates.
If you have a daughter, you must take her on daddy-daughter dates when she is little and keep doing them as she grows older. Never stop having some version of the daddy-daughter date. It’s fun and important for your relationship as well as for her future relationships.
- Watch superhero flicks together.
Is there any kid in the entire world who does not like superhero or action movies? I know there isn’t one in my house. We love watching Star Wars and Marvel and DC comic shows and movies. All of us kids (me included) love it.
Read the other three things at the All Pro Dad site here.
School holidays are a great time to make sure you do some of these things with your children. You can make the time, you know! Just do it!
Yours for doing things together,