This is the 2nd of 2 posts by guest blogger, Stephen Kendrick. Stephen and his brother Alex have created 4 theatrically released movies including Fireproof and Courageous and have co-authored a New York Times Best Seller, The Love Dare (as seen in Fireproof).
Yesterday, Stephen shared the “Why” of the importance of fathers making time for our children. Today, he shares the “How”.
A New Day and a New Opportunity
I want to challenge you today to throw on the brakes and start spending more “heart to heart” time with your kids. My wife and I are personally going on a journey to win, keep and mentor the hearts of our children Grant, Cohen, Karis, and John. We want to obey our Lord and desperately long for our children to hear and embrace God’s truth. But they won’t, unless we plant it in the soil of hearts that are bound to ours in a loving relationship. Will you join the adventure? You might be saying, “That sounds great. Maybe I’ll start that tomorrow.” Well as Grant, who is ten now can say, “It already is tomorrow”. Here are some ideas for family activities that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine, indoor and outdoor activities with your children.
How to Capture Time with your Kids:
ROUTINE FAMILY ACTIVITIES:
Establish Daily Interactive Habits.
Read Deuteronomy 6:7 and observe the four family activities that are in everyone’s routine. Capture those four conversation opportunities each day with your kids.
- Morning hugs & Breakfast laughs.
- Car catch me ups.
- TV-less dinners.
- Bedtime Tales. Tuck me in prayers.
They all really add up to years full of unregrettable moments.
Invite Tonto to Tag Along.
Try to include your kids in what you are already doing.
- My 8 year old Cohen helps me take out the trash every week.
- Grant joins me for home improvement projects. My Home Depot runs include helpers that get M&M’s at the register.
- Don’t leave them behind. Develop in them an appetite that longs to tag along with you.
Make Tickling Mandatory.
If laughter is the best medicine, then tickling is the wise doctor’s prescription. Take time to enjoy laughing with your children. My wife and I take turns holding down our kids while the other gets them with tummy tickles. This is an added free perk of parenting that comes with the membership card.
Declare War on the TV.
Would you like lots of extra free time every day? Duck tape down the Off button on your remote. It’s revolutionary. The average American watches 5 hours of television or internet media a day. That’s the equivalent to non-stop viewing 24 hours a day for two months straight – every year. That time is usually non-interactive for families too. So that’s where that wasted time was hiding! I dare you to turn it off and enjoy your family. FamilyLife has challenged families to observe TV fasts for a number of years, often mentioning it on their FamilyLife Today radio program. Maybe, you can declare the next 30 days as a TV/Media fast?
SPECIAL FAMILY ACTIVITIES:
Kidnap your Kids.
Each kid needs private one on ones with each parent. Spontaneously showing up where your son or daughter is and stealing them away for lunch is a great bonding activity. Kids never forget such surprises! Talk to their teacher about schedule breaks and kidnap them from school twice a year. A day fishing with dad or shopping with mom while everyone is still in school is unbelievably cool to kids. Don’t you wish your parents had done that for you?
Research shows that families that camp together closely bond together. It is one of those unpredictable family activities that breeds good healthy catastrophe and misadventures into life. Camping ironically forces families to work together and ultimately develop their own hilarious stories that they share later on. Buy a tent and find a state park. Learning how to camp is half the fun.
Give Grace Gifts.
It’s healthy to teach your kids to be good and work hard in order to earn some type of reward. But they should also learn that grace gives things that are unearned and undeserved. Buying your kids surprises occasionally for NO REASON can be a fun way to teach them about grace. “Just because I love you!” is a powerful declaration that hits them right in the heart.
So, Dad, which one of these can you do TODAY? As James says, our life is but a mist and we don’t know if we’ll have tomorrow. If these last two posts have made you lament the time you haven’t spent with your kids today is the day to put the stake in the ground. Make the next right step and do something, anything that will move you closer to your children. And, for you that have already watched your kids come and go, modify this to make a covenant today to get back in touch, stay in contact more regularly or continuing to invest your time as a dad into their lives. You’ll never outgrow being a dad.