How to Intentionally Invest in Your Child This Fall
It's probably my top favorite part about being a mom. The best part is that choosing to make memories with my kids looks a lot like investing in them (and in my relationship with them)!
I remember growing up and how going for a drive with my dad was an event all on its own. I think going for a drive has lost a lot of meaning these days, usually because we're looking for an end destination, whereas growing up, going on a drive was the destination! My dad had a knack for finding abandoned roads that were filled with potholes. I have many memories of feeling the car jump up in the air and coming back down. I remember my siblings and I squealing for my dad to "do it again," while my mom would yell, "Robert!" in the tone of voice that warned against bad decisions.
No season was off limits to these adventurous drives. If there was a puddle in a pothole, it was a magnet for my dad. It was a source of joy for us kids, too!
I remember one time, we were living in Wisconsin at the time, but had traveled to Montana. Dad had detoured from our usual route to Grandma's house to show us kids where he grew up. He journeyed up this mountain to show what road he had lived down. But instead of taking the road to show us the house he had lived at, he journeyed further up the mountain. I remember the quiet of the wind on that mountaintop and the purple wildflowers that dad knew the names of and had called them pretty. What I remember most is that he had taken this afternoon to show us a side of himself that we had never seen.
My dad is the king of making memories.
When I think about intentionally investing in my children this fall, I take notes from my dad.
I'll be embracing the spontaneous. I'm a planner by nature, I love a good to-do list and calendar! But my dad was always one to take these drives spontaneously. Just when we thought we knew how the day would go, my dad would load us up in the car and take us on an adventure. I think a lot of times dad would take us on these adventures because we were actually driving mom crazy. These adventures gave mom a break (usually from us). So, taking notes out of my dad's own book of adventures, I'll look at frustrating and crazy parenting days as adventures in the making.
I'll be taking my kids for a drive. My absolute favorite time of the year is the fall. I'll be taking the kids to look at the changing colors and to truly experience the fall. We'll find hot chocolate, the open road, and even collect little souvenirs from our trips! The handy part about cars is that they keep kids contained, when I just can't contain them much longer, I'll take notes from my dad and stop the car with the intention of exploring our surroundings. Even better if we find a lake!
I'll look for ways to introduce my children to my childhood. I happen to be truly blessed to live in the part of the US where my dad would do most of his adventuring. A lot of the same roads dad would take us on, my kids can also explore! One thing that truly sticks out about my dad's adventures and how he would introduce us to his childhood was that I always felt connected to the past. Dad's childhood wasn't necessarily something that seemed far in the past because I was there, touching it. Taking notes from my dad, I'll introduce my kids to my favorite spots I frequented as a kid so that they could feel connected to the past as well. So that they could get to know me in a way our own home wouldn't show.
Best of all, they'll have my undivided attention. Dad's adventures never involved even listening to music. Why? Because all those bumpy dirt roads would cause the cassettes (remember those?) and cds to skip. Instead, he would tell us stories. Even when we weren't exploring his childhood with our feet, we would explore his past (and my mom's) through their stories. They'd tell us memories from their own childhood and about our grandparents. We were able to ask questions and giggle with our parents. Being able to have conversations with my parents meant that we had their undivided attention. Looking back, having my parents undivided attention meant that they were able to reconnect with and invest in us in meaningful ways.
The biggest take away is simply that in this day and age, we need to be purposeful about disconnecting from all of our distractions to focus in on our blessings. I’m thankful for the two little blessings that God has blessed me with.
Aren’t you thankful for your blessings today? Let’s show our little loved ones how much we truly value them by giving them our full attention and by blessing them with incredible memories of their own childhood!