Today’s my youngest son’s birthday — he’s 12. Milestones like this are really fun and exciting as I think about how he’s growing and progressing. But these milestones are also incredibly sobering.
This day marks his last year before becoming a teenager, with high school and whatever follows just beyond. Today is a reminder to me not to let time fly by, not take it for granted, but to be intentional in thinking about how to get the most out of our relationship in the coming years — before he’s all grown up.
Think back to your childhood. What was your dad’s level of involvement with you? Did it change when you were at different ages, or was it pretty consistent?
As your kids hit adolescence, it may become too easy — and convenient — to spend less time with them as they get more involved with friends, schoolwork and activities.
Talk with your wife about strategies to stay involved with your teenagers in order to have regular contact and face time with them.
Consider finding regular activities to do with your child together — just the two of you. Go out to breakfast once a month, watch a favorite TV show together every week or spend time together reading as part of a regular bedtime ritual.
Think about doing an occasional special activity or trip that will give you lots of time without distractions, and that will create a lasting memory. Attend a sporting event, visit an amusement park, go hunting or hit a comic book convention. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, and it can be anything at all — just something you’ll both enjoy doing.
The local fathering effort, in cooperation with the National Center for Fathering, provides biweekly Action Ideas to stimulate conversation between fathers and parents. For more information, or to join local conversations, contact David Eggebeen at email@example.com, Mick Trombley at firstname.lastname@example.org, Robert Orndorff at email@example.com, Chris Dufour at chrisdufour19 @gmail.com, or Marc McCann at marc.mccann @arrow.com. See the Centre County Fathering website for resources and information at www.centrefathering.org.