During a rainstorm, a young woman named Alice listened to a friend complain about the dreary weather. “It’s like the world stops and you’re trapped.”
After a reflective pause, Alice gave an easy-going reply. “I love the rain.”
“What? You like this weather? I can’t imagine why.”
Alice explained, “When I was a little girl, my dad was a carpenter, and he did a lot of jobs outside. So, if it was raining, I knew there was a good chance that Daddy couldn’t leave for work that day. He’d be home, in his little shed out back, and I could be with him as he did his woodwork.”
She continued, “So now, a nice rainy afternoon brings all of that back to me, and I have those same feelings of spending time with my dad and being close to him. When it rained, that meant he would be there for me.”
Can you picture that little girl? Cherishing that time with her daddy. Can you see her now as a young adult? Smiling at the memories. Most fathers don’t fully understand how much our children long for our time and attention or how much they simply want to be with us. Really, the best time we spend with them is not go, go, go. Memories are made doing simple everyday activities together—weeding the garden, painting the porch, playing catch, or driving to the hardware store. You know, just hanging out.
For Alice, those times with her dad will be with her the rest of her life. Every time it rains, she feels special. The question to consider is how you can have that kind of impact on your children.
One clue from Alice’s story is that she connected a regular event with a sense of expectation. Rain will forever be linked with time spent together with her dad. And memories were made. What’s really interesting is that Alice’s dad probably didn’t even know he was creating images and emotions that would last a lifetime.
It’s possible, dad, that you’re well on your way to making similar memory links with your kids. On Sunday mornings, do you read the comics together? On clear nights, do you point out constellations? During snowstorms, do you huddle together around the fireplace? When you’re checking the fence line, do you make sure you have a son or daughter riding shotgun? When the baseball game is on, do you make room on the couch?
If that describes time spent with your child, then decades from now that grownup kid will have plenty of moments that trigger memories of time with Dad and bring a warm smile and a wash of nostalgia. A Sunday newspaper, starry night, snowstorm, visit to a hardware store, or ball game is all it will take.
We encourage dads to be intentional about initiating activities and spending time together with your kids. When the kids are young, it’s easy. They are eager to tag along, snuggle, or be Daddy’s helper. As they get older, you’ll want to find a regular time and place where your world intersects with their world—a hobby, a sport, a small business, maybe an intellectual pursuit, or work where you get some good honest dirt under your fingernails.
Don’t wait for a rainy day, dad. With a little effort, you can begin to make some easygoing memories with your children this very week.
Dad, how are you making those kinds of memories with your children? What activities today trigger memories with your dad or another father figure? I invite you to share by leaving a comment either below or at our Facebook page.
- Invite your child to join you in something you’re doing—even if it’s only for a few minutes. Share a part of your world with him or her.
This week’s blog was adapted from a chapter in the book, It’s Great Being a Dad. (The book was written with Christian dads in mind, although all dads will gain a lot from reading it.) The book has 93 short chapters, so you can look forward to several of them featured here. Order your copy right now. Enjoy being a dad!
NCF is a nonprofit organization seeking to improve the lives of children and establish a positive fathering and family legacy that will impact future generations by inspiring and equipping fathers and father figures to be actively engaged in the life of every child. You can sign up for NCF’s Today’s Father Weekly email here.