I used to think that spending time with my kids meant doing soemthing elaborate or special with them. I’d take each of my daughters on “dates” which were special evenings out that we would go and do something they liked. While thse were good times (and I still occassionally try to have those dates with my duaghters), I was reminded this past week that sometimes that time with my kids doesn’t have to be anything elaborate at all.
Take my oldest daughter, for example. If I’m running errands (such as going to the grocery store) she willl invariably want to tag along not because she finds what I am doing so exciting but because she just wants to hang out with me. In fact, I asked her on one of these recent excursions why she wanted to go with me and she said that she just enjoyed hanging out with Dad. I also have discovered that these are her opportunities to ask tough questions of me. She likes to use these times together to ask me about things that she has been thinking about. It’s in these moments that I get glimpses into what’s going on in her world.
Although my youngest daughter prefers to hang out at home, she will also desire that one-on-one time with me. Like my older daugther, she’ll use the opportunities when we are together to talk to me about difficult things that she may not want to share in front of anyone else.
We have so little time to make an impact on our kids as fathers. By being intentional about simply spending time with them we are allowing for those teachable moments to be created and the door opened to the hearts of our children. For me, spending time with my kids is no longer just about doing something special. It’s about just doing something with them.
Note: This post originally appeared in 2006.