Tag Archives: quality time

Discovering Unforgettable Father-Child Experiences

If you look up the word “hunter” in the dictionary, you will see my picture on that page.  That is because “hungry” is on the same page.

You can buy this sign from https://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/home/wooddesigner

You can buy this sign from https://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/home/wooddesigner

I have harvested my share of birds and an elk here and there, but am not a great hunter.  At the end of the day, I love being outdoors.  My son shares the same love for the outdoors and wildlife.

This past week, my son and I spent Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday night, all-day Saturday, and a half-day Sunday at a hunter education class sponsored by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.  I took the same basic class when I turned 10…over 35 years ago.  For anyone who has taken hunter education, no matter which state you live in, rest assured the movies have not been updated.

Photo by author...and proud dad!

Photo by author…and proud dad!

In all, we shared 5 hours in the car driving to and from Ben Avery Shooting Range and nearly 20 hours getting hands-on and classroom instruction.  We shared lots of laughs, had some serious ethical conversations, and I learned more about what he likes and does not like about the outdoors and hunting.  And he learned more from me.

I am not suggesting each of you need to take your kid through hunter education (by the way, lots of moms and daughters took the class), but you should seek out something your kid enjoys and find a way to take a deep dive with the subject.

In particular, find free or low-cost opportunities offered by organizations with the same passion.  Hunter education courses receive funding from several public sources and the instructors volunteer their time…and their passion can be contagious.

Maybe your kid enjoys the outdoors.  Find an opportunity (REI, Bass Pro Shops and many others offer no/low cost classes).

Art?  Check out your local art museum or community college for a workshop or class.

The list of interests and opportunities could take pages to exhaust.

Your job: ask your kid what subject she would like to dig into.  And do it with her.

I promise both of you will grow closer to one another…and you might just learn something.

I am going to brush up on my aim.

Do you know what interests your kid?  Do you have ideas about how to help them learn in a way you can also participate?

“T’s” Of Single Fatherhood – Time

No quote from Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” in this blog post.  As a full-time single father, you have already committed to spending time with your kids.  Lots of time.  In fact, you may feel a bit of guilt when you wish you could get a break.

You give your kids an incredibly valuable gift with that time.  No matter what happened to get you to this place, you now have primary responsibility for them and will spend a large portion of your non-working hours being dad.

Photo Credit: Busy Chris via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Busy Chris via Compfight cc

Young children require greater and more intense attention.  Feedings, diapers, baths, reading, playing, more diapers, and more feedings – just tapping those words out on my keyboard reminded me how exhausting those years were.  You may have help, but when you have those kids alone your time is consumed.

When you change diapers, older potty trained kids seem easier.  Seem is the operative word.

Intuitively, we all know parenting requires lots of time.  We all know time invested in a relationship nurtures and grows it.  So, it would seem parenting – especially if you parent the majority of the time – would result in awesome relationships with your kids.

Again, seem is the operative word.

I have spent time with my son and squandered time with my son.  I have been present with my son and I have been in the same room as my son.  I have listened to my son and I have been aware some creature was chattering somewhere in the room while I responded to an email.  You get the idea.

We would not function if every moment of every day involved deep levels of intimate communication and attention to our kids.  They would go crazy, too!  But, we can begin to identify those moments we can leverage and allow for deep connection.

I wrote about the value of a bedtime ritual – intimate and quality time.  I suggested we pay attention to their prompting for your time and presence, even if it involves a cartoon.

We have been given time with our kids – something we should thank God for.  So, let’s handle the time well.  Give this a try:

  • If your kids are too young to effectively communicate, write down two ways you can have quality time with your kids each day and do them.  This could include anything from 10-15 minutes of focused play time at morning and at night, to reading, to going for a walk, or to throwing a ball.  Discover what your kids enjoy and what they enjoy doing with you…and do it.
  • If your kids are older, ask them to tell you two things they like doing with you.  Then do those things on a consistent basis.

How do you spend quality time with your kids?  What benefits have you seen?  What gets in the way of spending quality time with them?

Learning to sit down

I don’t even remember exactly what I was doing. Probably laundry.  Maybe something more frivolous, like gathering trash from around the house to take to the curb for Tuesday garbage pickup.  Who knows.

What I remember very clearly was my son sitting alone on the couch with his favorite stuffed animal and blanket.  He was winding down.  Homework was done.  Teeth brushed.  He even flossed.  He was occupied and I could get stuff done.

Photo Credit: treefell via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: treefell via Compfight cc

He was watching something – probably Phineas and Ferb (one of my personal favorites), but he wanted company – he wanted dad to sit and pay attention to him.

“DAD!  Please sit with me.”  

He didn’t use many words, but they had an impact.  I immediately thought to myself, “but I have to get all these chores done, when will I do them if not now?”

Fortunately, some additional synapses fired immediately after that thought.  My son just asked me to sit down next to him, to pay attention to him, to put my arm around him and cuddle with him.  He was giving me permission to quit doing chores and sit and watch TV with him…to join him in his world.  I’m glad I did.

Time, touch, and attention.  We both needed it, and a child’s need for those should always trump a chore you can do later.