A few weeks ago I ventured out with just my youngest for an afternoon of shopping. We had loosely planned to look for a new winter coat for her and see what else we found along the way. It was a great time, just the two of us and she came home with not only a new coat but a bag full of clothes too. If you have kids of a certain age you for some reason need to replace pants frequently or allow them to go around with big holes in their knees.
I enjoy spending time with my family and especially cherish the times one-on-one with a kid. Even if it’s “just to go shopping”, we only have so many opportunities to build relationships with them and if it’s to have some boba and pick out clothes, I’ll take it. I didn’t think any more of it until my wife mentioned that she was talking with some colleagues about the father-daughter shopping excursion.
Apparently, a handful of them said their husbands would never venture out shopping like I had. They’d be hard-pressed just to run to the store for a quick item, let alone take a kid shopping for something like clothes. Some of it is my own assumptions, and I know there are many different stories being played out, but even as I write this it makes me a bit sad. Sad for what is being missed.
As parents, or even just as leaders it is important to pause and intentionally lean into life. If we don’t we miss out on great opportunities not only for our youth but also for us. The journey of a parent and a leader is littered with memories. So, why not turn off the sports ball, put the work away, and say ‘yes’ to shopping? Obviously, it isn’t always shopping but what is that a place-holder for?
At this time of year maybe some holiday shopping is still waiting to be done, grab your kid and just go. Maybe it’s saying yes to playing a game. May youth will be home for the holidays on school breaks and it sets the stage for a lot of solid memories and relationship building.
I know oftentimes I’ll be sitting in our living room, maybe I’m reading, working on something, or doing something “for me.” I’ve attempted to make it a priority any time one of my kids asks to play a game or do something with them - even as simple as a conversation - to put aside what I’m doing to be present with them.
My challenge to all of you, dads and otherwise is to Go Shopping. Literally and figuratively. There will come a time when our kids are out of our homes, grown, and won’t need us to play a game or take them shopping. What we model for them now - a desire to be present for them, a willingness to be selfless and put our things aside, and more - will all impact who they are becoming.
If you don’t have youth at home anymore, encourage someone who does to get up, get out, and go shopping with theirs. Or find a youth who doesn’t have someone who can go shopping with them and be the one. I know it doesn’t seem like it at the moment, but shopping could change the world - for our kids! You can even buy something when you go.
Do you have an experience similar to mine? I’d love to hear about it, drop a comment here on the blog or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Make It A Great Day,