Sunday Dates with My Children

It is Sunday morning. I’ve been up since 5.30 am. I wish my body would let me sleep in, but as I get older, I’m finding it won’t.

A major benefit of rising with the sun is doing what I’m doing now. Hanging out at a coffee shop, planning our Sunday dinner menu (tonight’s menu is here), drinking an awesome macchiato and letting my brain wander, as I read.

A major event today is a father-child date. Every other Sunday, I take one of our children out for one-on-one time. The child gets to choose the activity. It usually is a lunch out. Today, the date is going to be golfing nine holes.

What I’ve learned during these outings is that it is best not to have an agenda. I let the child drive the conversation. My point here is to listen, support and show my love. I try to look at the child with full attention and just enjoy the time together.

That’s hard for me to do. My natural tendency is to find problems and try to fix them. I tend to want to be very prescriptive with my children. What are your problems? Well, here are ways to fix them….

I’ve found that approach doesn’t work, particularly with teenagers. Sometimes, the older the child gets, the less interested they are in being with you. I understand. I remember as a teen that I didn’t want to be near my parents. That’s normal and expected, as children begin to seek independence.

But, I do hope during those silent moments at lunch, that somehow, they will know that I truly and deeply love them with all of my being. I hope that this love will give them self-confidence and security, and will encourage them to dream big dreams and to be strong, happy and holy.

So, later today, there will be a father and a teen. They will play golf. After, he will order a beer and a lemonade. They’ll sit outside and chill out.

They’ll watch others come up the 18th hole and see a calming vision of rolling green hills, fairways and the occasional sand trap. Important topics may be discussed, but chances are, unlikely. But, hopefully, that teen will feel a father’s love.

It is a funny thing, being a Dad. I truly would lay down my life for each child.

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