Forming Special Bonds
While that’s not always bad, it certainly can be. I was very active in High School with activities, for instance. I was the sports reporter for our town paper, the editor of the school newspaper, active in 4-H through their Ambassador program, managed the basketball team for the school, and had three horses that I had to take care of and show…all before you even consider homework, sleep, ‘personal’ time, and the fact that my parents were divorced, so i had to manage time with each of them individually. Both my parents worked, which meant that they weren’t always available at the times I was for any kind of quality time.
Yet, I actually found that my relationship with my father, specifically, grew much stronger as I grew older. I lived with my mom, so she had the advantage of being around in the mornings and before bed so we could talk, or play board games…and we had a 40 minute ride to the church we attended, so we had lots of time together Sunday’s and Wednesdays.
But for my dad and I, it was different. He is a sports reporter for the area’s major newspaper and would often be out late after games writing his story or traveling back from a game. So we had to be a bit creative in forming bonds. One thing that we did was to write short stories or poems together. One of us would write a line, or a paragraph, then leave the page on the counter for the other one. Then later, when available, the other would write the next line or paragraph. It very rarely made sense, but was great fun!
We also set aside time to go over my stories for my high school newspaper and the town paper I worked for. I had weekly deadlines, not daily, so I would leave my drafts for him and he’d edit them and help me check facts, then we’d get together, usually on Sunday afternoons, and talk about them. Then we’d go buy comic books or head out to the driveway to shoot hoops.
These things weren’t the traditional methods, but they worked for us. For busy parents who have busy kids, it can be a struggle to find the time when you can sit down together. Rather than restrict your child’s activity or find a new job, get creative. Pastor Doug Fry here on our staff has DSO’s with his kids (dad-son outings) where he takes one of his 5 boys out and they do something together. Sometimes its as simple as getting ice cream. Or maybe it’s an hour at Power Play or a latte at Starbucks (OK, that one I made up…I can’t imagine Pastor Doug has ever been in Starbucks!) But he finds time between his schedule and theirs for them to go, just the two of them, and do something together.
Another dad shared this concept that he uses at home:
I give each of my five kids a “Special Time With Dad” card (an index card with his or her picture on it) that’s good for 10 or 15 minutes of my undivided time every day. To redeem this time, which we may spend playing a game, working on a puzzle, or driving to the store for a treat, the kids simply hand their card to me. This system lets them request some special attention when they need it.
So for him, even if he’s in the middle of doing something else on his Saturday, if one of the kids produces their card, he stops for a bit and directs his attention just to them. He understands that while the yard may need to be mowed, taking 15 minutes to sit on the porch and sip lemonade while talking about whats important to his kids isn’t going to throw his world into a downward spin.
DaySpring (the card company) also makes some handy little “love notes” cards for spouses or kids, that you can set on the dresser, put in their lunch box, or stick in a card and mail to your hose for them. They have simple thoughts about how much you love them, or how proud you are of them, just as a reminder that can show you’ve gone out of your way to let them know how important they are. The “love notes for kids” contains 32 message cards for $4.99 and can be gotten from your Christian bookstore.
Finding ways to add value to those in your family and show them worth is important, even if you don’t have dinner together each night or you can’t spend a week on vacation at Disney World. You can get creative in your time together, and your expressions of love, and form meaningful bonds with your kids (and your spouse!)
Do something special today!