This year, consider giving your child a "special day."
When my girls were little girls, I began taking them on "special days." This was a time when I would take one daughter by herself to McDonald’s or Hardee’s for breakfast. We began this when they were VERY small. It was just the two of us — one daughter and myself. We would eat and linger. No hurry at all. Just a time to talk.
As they grew older, this turned into a lunch. We went to a variety of restaurants. The girls and I did this all the way through their high school years. It was a special time devoted to one daughter. We didn’t take a friend. We didn’t take the other sister. We didn’t sit with people from church if they were already at the restaurant.
Most of the time, we just talked. This conversation began when they were quite small. The conversation continued as they grew older. As I look back, these were such important moments. (We shared these times together monthly. They were even more often when they were small. But, we had these days regularly and consistently.)
Listen to my daughter Christine (now 23 years old and married) as she reflects on those times. She wrote the following yesterday:
Special days bring back so many
great childhood memories for me. They were such a special time that I got to
spend with my dad, just me and him. It communicated to me that I was special,
worthy of taking time out of a day to spend time with, and that my dad wanted to
have a close relationship with me. Now looking back it really built a foundation
for our relationship.
When I got to college I realized even more how special
those times were. I had several friends who didnâ€™t spend time with their dad.
The only time they went to their dad was for money, permission to do something,
etc. There were several who I never witnessed speak on the phone to their dad,
it was only their mom. That really made me realize how special my relationship
with my dad was and that it was a personal relationship. That was very
important to me because not only did it build my confidence level (because my dad
had time for me) but it also modeled what kind of relationship I wanted to have
with guys who I might date in the future. It showed me that I need to have a personal,
respectful relationship with guys, not one just based on getting money, etc. I
really value and appreciate those special days that were the beginning of a
great, honest, caring relationship with my dad.
(Christine Martin Wood, November 6, 2006)