Expressing Thanks to Your Child

Make it The Best Thanksgiving Ever

It is all too easy in our fast-paced world to not really think through what key holidays really mean.

For instance, Thanksigivng is coming soon. “Ah” you think, “good turkey, lots of food, a football game, a day off, the Macy’s parade.”

I invite you to just stop and think for a moment what you are really thankful for. For those of you who are married, I trust that your wife comes to mind right away. And right after her should be each child you have blessed with.

So why not do something very different this Thanksgiving. Why don’t you let each child you have know just how thankful you are for them.

Buy them a card. Or better yet – create your won Thanksgiving card – or Thanksgiving love note. Nothing fancy – just a few simple words to say, “I am so thankful today to have you as my son – my daughter.” It could just be the best Thanksgiving ever – for you and for each of your children

Enjoy Every Day with Your Child

Each One is Too Valuable to Waste

I am departing radically today from my usual upbeat post where I share tips and ideas that will strengthen your relationship with your child and bring joy to you as dad.  I do this because I was shook to the core this morning by an article in today’s paper that described the suicide of a local 16 year old girl.

What was so shocking to me is that there were absolutely no warning signs – in fact, everything in her life appeared to be going well.  Just the kind of teen every father hopes and prays for.

“It’s like ‘Cara, why did you do this?  You were loved.  You had a great heart.’  This is the question we all have,” her father said.  “Her future looked so bright…She was intelligent.  She had great friends.  She was part of the church group.  She had loving parents and a loving family.  She was involved with team sports.  She was well-liked.  But nothing that we saw could have led to something like this.”

I share this story because I see it as a clarion wake-up call to ALL FATHERS – don’t assume that you will always have your child with you.  That “down the road” you can do good things as a dad — maybe when you finally have more time. When work isn’t soooo demanding on you.

No, the message for each dad should be:  enjoy each day with your child while you have it!.  Spend one-on-one time with them – the gift so many kids long for from their dad.  Tell your child every day “I love you” and show them your unconditional love.

Doing such things will brighten each day with your child.   And “way down the road”, you won’t have any guilt or regrets but instead will know that you have done what you could to be a great dad to your child.

May you be richly blessed with the joy that comes from giving your child what he/she so deeply desires – dad’s heart turned to them.


Making a Memory

Hint - Think of Family

The instant I first heard the phrase “making a memory” many years ago, I fell in love with it. It captured me instantly because it expressed so precisely what I had been attempting to do with my three kids over the previous years.

Though I was not conscious of it, I was engaged in making a memory here and a memory there so that in the end, whey they were adults, my children would hold a sweet and variegated bouquet of childhood memories.

I now know that this all worked because they are all in their 30s and they often reminisce  about the great times we had together in their youth. All of a sudden, one will bring up some funny thing that happened on a family vacation, or a terrific roller coaster we discovered in some out of the way place, or how we went every October to that same wonderful rustic cabin that mom never quite liked (but the kids sure did).

So dad, begin building those memories NOW – one by one. Ask your kids what they would like to do. But also think back to what you did as a kid that was really enjoyable – that stands out in your mind. It just may be that your child will love it too.

One thing that was definitely true of my best memories of my childhood – and I believe could well be true for your kids also – is that the most vivid and cherished memories all have a common theme: they involve family.

Seize the Moment

Moments that "just happen"

So much of the joy of fathering comes in the little moments tucked into each and every day.

If you want to “seize the moment” with our child, you should adopt Helen Keller’s perspective of living: “life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” Then you will see each day as an opportunity for creative new ventures with your kids that will infuse them with an enthusiasm for life.

A hallmark of a dad who can seize many moments with his kids is spontaneity. I like a line from a Jackson Browne song that goes, “The times we were most happy were the times we never tried.”

Seized moments are like that—moments that just happen, often on a whim. We probably won’t know what to expect, but that’s half the fun.

To seize moments, you must be present focused. That allows you to see pockets of time with your kids that you can creatively fill. Though brief, the impact on your child can be huge. For as you fill each of these pockets of time with some fun activity or caring words, you are sending an unsaid but very clear “I love you” message to your child.

Got a fun example of when you “seized the moment” with your child?  Tell us about it.