This weekend I had the privilege of attending a Major League Baseball game with one of my sons. As we planned the trip over the past couple of weeks, his enthusiasm increased with each passing day. Our journey was several hours down the road, and we ate lunch together along the way. With each passing moment he continued to express his joy at getting to go on this trip with Dad. His excitement was contagious!
The experience of this trip with my son is not something he will forget anytime soon. And neither will I. Watching his enjoyment of our time together fulfilled a part of my heart. As a father I desire to give good gifts to my children, and this baseball adventure qualified. I also want to spend meaningful time with each of my children. Making fun memories together helps to tie the bonds of our relationship tighter.
This son of mine is passionate about sports just like me. Therefore, I do not have any difficulty relating to him. We speak the same language and have no trouble deriving entertainment from activities we both enjoy. I do not take this for granted. It is certainly not this easy for me to relate to some of my other children. Finding significant and enjoyable ways to spend time with each of them is no less important. As a father this weekend has reminded me again of how essential it is that I find ways to spend meaningful quality time with my children.
Here are four suggestions for planning quality time together.
Look out for common interests. This is the most obvious and practical suggestion. It does not usually require much effort or thought because the things we enjoy are readily identifiable. As I mentioned above, my son and I have a mutual love of sports. Shared passions are an easy way to build relational capital.
Be willing to step outside the comfort zone. This requires me to put aside my own desires and focus on someone else. As we were discussing our weekend adventures, one of my daughters expressed her to desire to take a similar trip with Dad. “But not to a baseball game.” She wants to do something with princesses. Yep! That’s not my bailiwick, but I am willing to do it for her.
Catch the small moments. As I picked up my youngest son in a bear hug recently, I was struck with the simplicity of the action. All I needed to do was take a few minutes of my time to focus my attention on him. Making a point to engage in something that seems insignificant, like a hug, can promote the health of a relationship. Listening for morsels of information in the passing comments from children can also provide insight for meaningful time together.
Invest with an eye towards the future. Spending quality time with each of my children is similar to putting money into the stock market for years down the road. As time passes the commitment of additional time and resources can help grow the relationship to pay dividends. These dividends come in the form of friendship and so many other long-term benefits for both them and me.
The quality time that I was able to spend with my son this weekend will be something that we can talk about for years to come. The icing on the cake is that our team won!
Question: What are your tips for spending quality time with others? Do you have a recent experience you would like to share? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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