Blog posts that provide encouragement for marriage and family success.

What are you going to do?

Updated: May 8, 2021

It was a cool January morning when my oldest son and I bundled up, loaded up his truck, and headed to a local lake. The sun was up but not sweltering (a blessing in Florida). We tried at two different lakes but had no luck catching any fish. We did catch a lot of conversation, though. He talked about school and friends. I mostly listened and asked the occasional question. I wouldn't trade that two hours for anything, though.

Here's most of our current game stash:

Spending time with our kids, uninterrupted, is precious for everyone. Our kids will always remember it and it gives parents a good opportunity to get a glimpse into our kids' lives. Sometimes that glimpse is just a new interest or something funny at school. Every bit helps when it comes to connecting with our kids!

Friday is a great time to start planning one thing you will do this weekend to connect. Even if you don't have kids of your own, maybe you have a niece or nephew - I'm sure they would love to spend time with you! You may want to plan a family event, or something one-on-one with just one child, if that works for your family.

Your "do something" doesn't have to be a fancy affair. And maybe fishing or board games aren't your thing.

Here's a list of some ideas to get you started.

  • Watch a show or movie together. My kids and I have a couple of shows we watch when we can steal an hour or two.

  • Garden together. My mom and I bonded for years over this activity.

  • Bake, cook, grill something together. Another bonding experience with my mom when I was a young girl.

  • Grab a coffee at your local coffee shop.

  • Go fishing.

  • Go swimming.

  • Take out or rent a kayak or canoe.

  • Take a tour of a local attraction - be a tourist!

  • Play tennis - or baseball - or frisbee.

  • Go for a walk.

  • Have lunch at a restaurant.

  • Play a game. I made a post late last year with some good game choices. Check that out if you are at a loss.

  • Go visit a local park and be kids again at the playground.

  • Plan for summer activities.

  • Color together.

  • Draw with sidewalk chalk.

  • Ride bikes.

  • Read together - even older kids enjoy reading books they remember from when they were little.

  • Take a prayer walk through the neighborhood - start with yours.

  • Put up hammocks and find cloud formations.

I hope this gets you off to a good start. It really doesn't matter what you do - just plan something and then DO IT!

Here are some communication keys:

  • Let your child know you'll be doing something.

  • If your family shares a calendar, make sure it's in there so it's an actual "event."

  • Don't invite anyone else - this is time for family.

  • Don't force conversation. Silence is okay. Some people, especially guys, DO things side by side and have periods of silence.

  • When your child says something, listen.

  • Resist the temptation to coach, lead, or lecture. It's about being together, not giving a lesson.

  • Ask questions, and try to keep them open-ended. I'll ask things like,

  • "What happened next?"

  • "What did she do when X happened?"

  • What did you think about that?"

  • "What would you have done in that situation?"

  • "How do you feel about that?"

  • "What do you think about that?"

  • The answers to the questions are important, but not THE most important thing. Your goal is just to learn about your child. That's it. No lessons or lectures!

  • If you're shocked, hide it. Sometimes they say things to see how you'll respond. Take it in stride and be shocked later with your spouse behind closed doors.

  • Finally, lead by example - turn your phone on silent and don't check it or get on social media. Pictures are okay, but that's about it.

Most of all, HAVE FUN!