As adults, we have a tendency to say no to our kids. Many of these are warranted when they ask for something they do not need or when they want to do something that we believe may harm them. But what about the simple things? For that question, I am not necessarily asking it in reference to “physical” things…though it will take us to be physically there with them.
Dads, think of all the times our children have asked us to do something with them. How many times have we said “No son, I’m too busy right now” or “No angel, I can’t right now.”? How many times have we looked up, after saying that to see the hurt on the faces of our children?
I know I have seen such hurt in my children’s eyes that would make you think I slapped them in the face or punched them in the stomach. I’ve also heard those dreaded words of…”but you promised.” Every time it leaves me feeling deeply hurt inside actually.
One thing that really is awesome about most children, is the fact that they know and understand that we, as adults, have many things that need to be done. They realize that we are gone most of the day working at our job then possibly helping with dinner, washing clothes, getting bath water ready and bed time is right around the corner. They get it…trust me. BUT, they want and deserve our time. As a matter of fact they need our time.
Now, I do not mean an 8 hour shift per se, but an hour here or two hours there can make all the difference in the world for our children. That time can be in many forms. Such as riding a bike, walking down the street, going to the park or just laying in the yard looking at the clouds. It could also be as simple as nightly prayers and reading a bedtime story.
Just an hour of our undivided attention lets our children know that we love them. It lets them know they are important to us. It also gives us a chance to ask some hard questions to connect or reconnect with them. My children are still young so my questions are not the hard ones that some of you may need to ask. Some of you could be dealing with a child in puberty with a lot of hard questions.
Those questions need answers. They need real honest answers and not flippant ones to get them to leave us alone. But, IF, you have not set the precedence that they can come to you…then…they will look to others for the answers. That might not be a good idea in todays culture.
We need to willing to put down the paper, the book, the phone and really listen to our children when they come in the room with that one little word that is said in the form of a question…”Daddy?”. You never know what is on their little minds.
They need to know you are there to listen to them. What we may consider to be trivial is a big deal in the mind of our children. Just think back to when you were a child and had questions for your parents. They were not trivial to you. They were very important to you at that moment. It is the same for your children.
Time is a commodity that we can not waste I understand that. But time spent with our children is not a waste…it is an investment. An investment that builds a bond and can reap benefits for a lifetime.