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Dads — seize the day, but don’t plan it

Because most kids are engaged in a variety of activities, parents get to catch up with other parents about the family goings-on while waiting for practice to end, intermission of performances, picnics, etc. It’s interesting that oftentimes these discussions revolve around about how busy they are due to their kids’ schedule, and I include myself in admitting the same thing.

Recently, my sons Samuel, Benjamin and I traveled to Pittsburgh for a college visit. After the visit, we went to lunch with no other plans in mind. However, we ended up having a terrific day exploring the city, goofing off at a mall, getting ice cream and making a surprise visit to my brothers before heading back home. It was a day of unplanned and unscheduled fun together. Consider the following if you want to arrange an “unplanned” day with your kids.


  • Think about your typical day — it’s probably filled with things to do from morning until night. How could you change it to include a period of doing whatever you wanted? Recall some good times you had as a kid that were not planned.
  • Keep in mind your child’s day — is it as busy or busier than yours? Make sure you encourage and allow them to pause (“chill out” as the kids say) for a while and then reboot.
  • Consider occasionally setting aside a day (or half a day), so as not to be constrained by your calendar, then get in the car with your kids and start exploring.
The local fathering effort, in cooperation with the National Center for Fathering, provides monthly Action Ideas to stimulate conversation between fathers and parents. For more information, or to join local conversations, contact Mark Oleynik at or Marc McCann at