by Kari Patterson
The Sacred Mundane
I can still remember our first date.
Aristocats. It was my first movie in the theater. I was six-years-old. I wore my favorite outfit and felt so fancy, so grown up walking into the theater, the cold air-conditioned air on my face, the smell of popcorn engulfing me as we walked in. I slipped my tiny hand into my dad’s large one, and felt like a princess that night.
I still do.
It’s amazing how much impact our opposite-sex parent has on our lives. Tsh quotes Dr. Meg Meeker as saying, “fathers have a power in a daughter’s life that mothers just don’t have. A girl’s first experience of love with her dad puts a template over her heart regarding what male love is all about.” Research is constantly showing us that the better a girl’s relationship is with her father the less promiscuous she tends to be. I’m convinced that my dad’s faithful, tireless, amazing love, affection and attention during my young years kept me from a lot of grief in my high school years. (Not perfect here, just saying his love made me feel secure and confident.)
No pressure, right? This isn’t to say that if your daughter has made poor choices that it’s all your fault. It’s simply to say that we, as parents, must take very seriously the need to date our kids. To take the initiative to Love them Alone and to woo them, dote on them, and take special opportunities to spend time with them one on one.
And don’t panic if you think it’s too late. I confess I am encouraged right now as I remember that my first date with my dad was when I was 6. Sometimes I feel like, as we’re just now starting to do this, that we’re too far behind somehow. Ha! Where does that guilt come from? It’s never too late.
So what is the best time to start dating your kids?
Tsh gives some fun ideas here:
• Hike nearby trails
• Catch a matinee
• Go ice skating
• Visit a local museum or zoo
• Head to a low-key restaurant
• Walk to the park
• Grab some ice cream
• Have a picnic
• Read books together at the library
And since my kids both tend to be such homebodies, I’m over here at Frugal Living NW today, sharing the lessons I’m learning about frugal family fun. Check it out, and have some one-on-one “date time” with that special kid in your life. As I wrote this post I was snuggling on the couch with my boy, him reading a book and talking to me as I type. It took a long time to write because he asked me 100 questions, but he thinks we’re having a date and that’s what matters. Now, I’m off to play Cowboys with my little man, enjoy your kid-dates, and thanks for reading.
Question for you: What are your favorite “kid date” ideas? What are your favorite ways for showing your children you care? Thanks for the ideas!