I was recently at our annual reunion of college friends. We meet every year for a weekend of fellowship and no kids. As our group has matured and family sizes have exploded it has been fun to watch everyone grow as parents. I was encouraged and challenged as I observed one couple’s nightly routine. Away for the weekend with lots of friends to catch up with, they found time each night to connect with their kids. It was literally five minutes of FaceTime. It’s important to know that they have six kids! So they spoke with each child, asked them a few questions about their day, told them they were loved and said goodnight. So simple, yet incredibly meaningful.
My takeaway? Get more face-to-face time with my kids. As my wife pointed out to me, I am great at the big event stuff, but not so much with the day to day. Plan a big event for the family, done. Monthly one-on-one breakfasts with the kids, easy. Holidays, vacations and spur of the moment getaways, a breeze. Meaningful interaction in the daily minutia of life, a real struggle.
Don’t get me wrong, I spend time with the kids, but my tendency is to get them involved with what I am doing (i.e. spreading mulch, organizing the basement, house projects, etc.). My goal is to grow in the area of entering their world and what they are doing.
Therefore I am instituting the Five Minutes of Face Time with Dad and I want to invite you to do it with me. The goal is to get at least 5 minutes a day with each of our kids. The purpose is strengthening those relationships to open up opportunities to speak biblical truth into their lives. The plan is to do this by entering into a project of theirs, asking them questions about their world, listening to them, doing something they want to do, playing a game or anything that will display my pursuit of their heart. (Malachi 4:6) I am finding that it is less important what you do, as it is that you do something on their level to engage them in their world.
To help facilitate discussion during this time, I am using Ken Pierpont’s list of 20 Questions to Open the Heart of Your Child.
As I have talked with other dads about this, I am finding that I am not the only one. So, if you’re like me and you struggle with the daily small interactions, institute your own Five Minutes of Face Time with Dad. On the other hand, if the day-to-day is your thing, please let us know what has worked well. Share your wisdom with the rest of us by commenting below.
Author: Rev. Wes Andrews