We often encourage dads to make the most of every opportunity you have with your children, because your time with them is fleeting. Recently, we heard about one dad who came up with a great way to be purposeful about the time he has left with his three teenagers at home.
Bob and his family have occasional family get-togethers where everyone has a chance to talk about what’s going on and share concerns they may have. One day Bob came to the family time with this exercise: each of the kids had to come up with five things they wanted to learn before they leave home. Bob and his wife both listed five things they wanted their children to learn as well.His kids listed: how to fix things on the car; how to manage their time; how to find a job; how to cook eggs and French toast; how to fix or replace a faucet.
What would your kids say?
Coaching our children is a big and never-ending task. There are hundreds or even thousands of things they need to see and do and learn. Even if they try to hide it, they realize that they don’t know everything. They know they’ll leave home one day, and there’s a lot of information and skills they’ll need if they’re going to do well on their own. A big part of our job is to prepare them for that time.
So, your number one action point for today is to follow Bob’s lead and ask your kids what they want to learn from you. Start with five things for now; you can always add to them later, or start a new list once you have this one checked off. It’s a great exercise to help get some specific goals in front of you for each of your kids. It’s so important to have your priorities straight and make the most of every opportunity that you have with your children.
For more ideas on this, see Harry Harrison Jr.’s two books: 1001 Things Your Kids Should See and Do—Or Else They’ll Never Leave Home and 1001 Things Every Teen Should Know Before They Leave Home.
- Follow Bob’s lead: challenge your children to come up with 5 things they’d like to learn before they leave home.
- Talk with your children’s mother about an age-appropriate goal or skill for each of your children to learn (and for you to work on with them) during the next month—tying shoe laces, doing dishes, mowing the grass, finding useful information on the Internet.
- Give your children a glimpse of your budget and regular bills you pay, so they gain a better understanding of how much it costs just to keep the lights on and food in the pantry.
- No matter what your child’s age, recruit him or her to assist you this weekend as you take care of a home maintenance task.
- Help your kids find authors that they love to read.