Dating Our Kids

Ana and I love our family, and our family loves our family, so spending time together is our favorite way to do almost everything. I love the age they are at as they are young enough to have lots of fun just being kids, yet old enough to be somewhat self-sufficient so we can enjoy doing more together for longer.

Recently, we were reminded that while we are a strong family and love our time together, our kids really need one-on-one time with Ana and me. We used to do that but dates with them were a big deal. We would go to a restaurant to eat something, maybe do some shopping, or we would go and do something they wanted to do. It was a significant production that required planning and funds which are always short when you have a young family. It became hard to squeeze into a busy schedule of kid activities, home school, work, play dates, etc. and the cost wasn’t always easy to manage.

Long story short, we haven’t done one-on-one dates with our kids for a long time.

Cadence mentioned it first. She brought up how much fun it was when we went on our last date. That’s when I realized it was almost two years ago. Ana and I talked and quickly agreed that we need to start scheduling that one-on-one time with each of them as soon as possible.

We sat down with our kids and apologized for dropping the ball on such an important thing, and yes, we apologize to our kids when we do things wrong that affect them. In this case, without looking for a solution to the problem, we just stopped taking the time to do something with them that meant a great deal. Apologizing when you do wrong does not weaken your role as a parent, it does the opposite. Kids recognize injustice. What they don’t see enough of sometimes is people taking responsibility when they make mistakes or bad decisions. I want to raise my kids to be humble, to do the right thing, and to show respect to others, especially to those who are weaker, smaller, and less capable. In other words, the ones we may feel don’t deserve an apology or will be fine without one.

Doing the right thing is between us and God and far less about us and the other person. And when I do the right thing by my kids, they learn to do the right thing to others. They also see that I love, respect, and value them which only makes them stronger. So yes, when my actions or words warrant an apology, I apologize, especially to my kids.

After we apologized, we told them the problem was that when it’s a big complex day that requires a budget and planning, it becomes much harder to do it consistently. We explained instead, we would do things to be together one-on-one and focus on each other rather than things and events. They loved the idea because they want that personal time together with us more than anything else. It makes them feel important and special in their unique way as the focus is not shared between siblings and dogs and bunnies and other things to do.

Ana made plans to take Cady out. Cady wanted to match outfits so they did that and a fresh braid and off they went. Cady is an artist and loves going to Micheals to get ideas for creating things so after running a couple of errands, they stopped there for an hour. Ana told me that Cady couldn’t stop talking, it was wonderful she said.

On another day Cole and I went to Bass Pro Shops to get some fishing tackle. He climbed on every boat and quad in the store, perused the toy department for a while then helped me pick out some work socks. Then we picked up some fishing hooks and some other odds and ends we will need. He is going fishing for the first time this week.

Emma will be next but already we have seen a remarkable difference in Cady and Cole. The kids argue less, they are more productive in home school, and most of all they are happier.

I learned that kids are not a burden, and they are not an inconvenience, nor are they a lot of work. They are a gift from God and we have the honor of being chosen by God to care for them, love them, and equip them to navigate life and teach them to shape the next generation. It’s a full-time endeavor without days off and I love every second of it, even in the difficult times as there is no job more honorable and important than shaping a life.

This Week

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