Do you ever wish you could remember more things about your life when you were little?
I am a father to one son named Hayden. He’s 8. I’m 48. Yes, I’m the “older dad.” But being older, I believe it has caused me to not take for granted this amazing gift that God has given us.
Since he was born, I have wanted to make absolutely sure that I cherished every moment with my son. Sure, I have moments when he drives me crazy, moments when we argue, moments when I have screwed up and said things that I should not have said to him. In those times when I’ve messed up, I’ve made sure to tell him I was wrong, I made a mistake, and I’m sorry. (I believe it’s good for children to see their parents mess up, and then humble themselves and apologize.)
But the majority of the time, I do my best to make sure my son realizes that he is one of the greatest things that has ever happened in my life.
I believe one of the main reasons that I try so hard to spend as much quality time with Hayden, is because I lost both of my parents when I was in my mid 30’s. I took for granted the time I had with them, while they were here. For the last 13 years, I’ve deeply missed having them around. Especially the last 8 years with my son, and all we’ve experienced.
One of the small things I miss the most is simply not being able to ask my parents about certain things from my childhood that I can’t remember, so I can share those stories with my son.
For Hayden, that won’t be a problem when he is grown up. Thankfully, a dear friend of mine gave me the idea of writing in a journal every day, once my son was born.
For the first 5 years of his life, I added to this journal every day. Whether it was something he did that day, something that was going on in my life, something big that happened in the world, simple words of wisdom, or even just telling him I thanked God for him that day … I typed into that journal every single day.
The last few years, I still add things, but it’s not every day. Mainly big things that happen, that he’ll want to remember.
I now have 351 pages of memories in this journal that he’ll be able to look back through when he is older.
For the dads reading this who have babies or young children, I encourage you to start a journal. I believe it will be one of the great gifts that your children will treasure as an adult.
For those of you with grown children, I encourage you to spend more time talking with your kids about memories from their childhood. It will be quality time that they (and you) will love.
Some of us put so much pressure on ourselves to be great parents, that we set unrealistic expectations that we can usually never achieve. But when I think about it, my greatest memories of my dad are simply the times he spent one on one quality time with me. It didn’t even really matter what we were doing. I just knew I was enjoying it and so was he.
Spending undistracted, engaged, quality time with your children is the best thing you can do. And it’s these times that will create amazing lifelong memories for your child, and for you.
Paul and his wife Christie are parents of one son. They enjoy being at the lake every chance they get, being involved in Hayden’s sports, and serving at their church in Nixa, The Bridge. Paul worked in the Media Industry in southwest Missouri for 20+ years and has recently started a consulting business. He can be reached for questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org