Father: a prince, a hero, a mentor, a guide. A man who loves unconditionally and never lets things slide. A man who chooses to parent with love and understanding, while never forgetting that he too is a child…to our one perfect, heavenly Father.
Tomorrow we celebrate our fathers.
As we prepare to celebrate these men, we tend to think of the gift we hope to find; one that shows how much we love and care about them. In our search, we are bombarded with catalogs, emails, Google pop-ups, etc. Think about Christmas time when your mailbox is full of catalogs. Some are interesting to review, while others are full of items that you would never ever buy, like jean jeggings or infrared tech ankle sleeves.
I think about what my husband would like, as well as my own father, and I know exactly what they’ll say…“nothing”. With nothing in mind, I asked a few men that I admire as fathers. These men range in age from their mid 40s on up. All have children, at least one. Some even have grandchildren.
Their response to my question was unanimous.
“What is your best gift you ever received from your kids?
It could have been for your birthday, father’s day or just because.”
They answered, “TIME.”
Dads want time with their family.
Our days go by so quickly and work can be stressful. Instead of material things, they prefer moments with loved ones. And if you’re in our same area of life, kids are starting to leave the nest for college. Yikes!
So what can you do?
According to Jayson Demers at Inc.com, there are 7 ways successful people spend their free time. They exercise, read, take classes, volunteer, network, develop hobbies, and spend time with family and friends.
I took those same ideas and translated them into the perfect Father’s Day gift.
Whatever gift you choose, it will only cost you thought, action and your time of course. You might end up spending a little money if the gift you select ties in with one of the 7 main ideas.
1. EXERCISE. Design the day around a hike, bike ride, fishing or a walk through town. Take your camera to document your adventures. If you have your equipment, you’re cost is low.
At Christmas, we bought my husband a new bike helmet and trail maps. WNC has some incredible bike paths. We’re hoping that he gets hooked and creates some great memories with our son before he leaves for college in three short years. Time is flying by and you never get it back!
2. READ. Successful people read for life; it’s a habit they embrace. Books allow us to learn new things, experience different cultures, ideas and lifestyles. They can lead to new hobbies and adventures.
We loved reading to our kids. It became one of our favorite past times. If you have young children, select books your “dad” can read to your children and help foster their own love of reading.
As a tween, I remember my parents gathering all three of us on my bed while my father read aloud to us from a fictional novel. I could picture the characters as they walked through the story in my mind. We’d take turns reading until the book was complete. It was a fun way to end the day.
Head over to Barnes and Noble, your local thrift stores or even a used book store. They’ll definitely have something that interests him!
3. CLASSES. While school may end, education is always in session. Think of what interests your “dad”. Is there something he’d like to learn for his profession, hobby or outside interests? There are many low-cost to free classes offered at community colleges, forums and meet-up groups.
4. VOLUNTEER. Thinking larger than yourself is something we all need to instill in our children. With today’s constant pull for our attention (TV, social media, cell phones, texts, etc.) it’s important to be present. We all know it’s better to give than receive, so why not put those words into action together as a family?
Great places to volunteer include soup kitchens, animal shelters, highway or neighborhood cleanups, faith-based organizations, nursing or retirement homes, Habitat for Humanity, plus so many more.
One important tip: Think about the types of activities and energy levels needed for the different types of work that interest you.
Nursing homes: You could make cards for residents and deliver them. Visit during social hours. If you are musically inclined, play music and have a sing along.
When my children were little, we’d go and just visit with residents on a weekly basis. My daughter made birthday cards for the residents one month during her senior year of high school for her National Honor Society hours.
You can contact the program director for ideas on how you can help.
Shelters: Host a clothing and/or toiletries drive.
We put a bulletin in our Nextdoor groups and received great support for a drive we hosted. For the high school, we collected toiletries from hotel stays, mini toothpaste, deodorant, soap, toothbrush, etc.; they have a large number of homeless students who are in need of the basics. For Christmas, we also put a notice out about families within our church that needed items. We collected money from neighbors and used it to buy the gifts.
I remember as a child, my dad would take the three of us to the grocery store and Toys R Us. He gave us a budget of $500 back then to buy toys and food for an orphanage. It became a game to us in the sense that we would try and stretch that money as far as we could to get the most items possible. When we delivered everything, the nuns were so grateful. While they kindly and firmly insisted we take a box of cookies they made, what never ended was the memory of helping others together as a family.
All three of us have carried that act of service into our own families now.
5. NETWORK. Talking with and meeting new people expand opportunities and experiences. While your “dad” might not necessarily be in the market to shift gears in his career, networking with others is a priceless activity. You never know who you’ll meet or what connections you can learn about and/or make.
You can network anywhere.
Look at your community and see what events are planned. See what groups of people interest you, get out there and mingle. You can have a family goal, for example, to meet five new people and learn their stories; we all have a story to tell.
Prepare yourself with a few questions that you ask. You can make it a game to find the most interesting person in the mix. Think about the skills you’ll impart to your kids if you do this!
One summer, my husband lost his job after the company he worked for went belly up. Though it was a challenging time, we went to a neighborhood picnic to meet our neighbors. That afternoon, I met Natalie and quickly learned, through casual conversation, that her company was looking to expand. A couple extra introductions were made and shortly thereafter, my husband landed a new job. That picnic turned out to be very successful and fun.
Think about picnics, volunteer opportunities, concerts, outdoor group adventures, art events, etc. The possibilities are endless.
6. HOBBIES. Everyone needs a hobby. Hobbies help us to escape from our normal routines. I like to think of a hobby as creating something and/or learning a new skill. My son might try to convince you that watching TV is a hobby, but I think it’s more of a mindless act of being a slug…unless you’re watching HGTV of course.
If your “dad” has a hobby, what can you do to help him further it? If he doesn’t, try different things together as a family.
We like working with wood and tend to create DIY projects. My husband brought our son into our “shop” (aka garage) and he really took to it. He recently built a birthday gift for his friend, all on his own, and I was quite impressed. Now he helps us on projects around the house. He’s learning valuable skills and we’re doing it together.
Does your “dad” like to cook, build things, exercise, experience adventures, etc?
There are millions of ideas that you can find. If he loves to cook, create a meal together. Bike…find fun trails. Build things…design and create items you can give away or sell, or finish a project that has been on the to-do list for way too long.
7. SPEND TIME WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS. Personal relationships require prioritization. We get so busy, time escapes us and we wake up wondering where it went. Two of our children have graduated from high school, leaving one at home for just a few more years. Eighteen summers went by real fast!
I know some of you can relate.
Make time to together a priority. Have “no cell phone gatherings” so you can truly be present with one another. When we can connect, face to face without distractions, our relationships become so much richer.
Plan a laid back dinner or lunch and have people bring their favorite dish. Play cards, games or just talk. Host an outdoor movie night. How about a weekend camping trip?
Personally, we had many years of fun memories sitting around campfires and going snipe hunting in the dark, or going to our TV-less cabin to ski in the winter. Darts, poker and puzzels were constantly played. I long for those days gone by.
Creating family habits of spending time together will carry over from generation to generation. They’ll never remember the material gift you gave them, but they will remember the memories you make. So this Father’s Day, think of what you can do with your dad and how you will spend that TIME.
[clickToTweet tweet=”The best gift a father receives is time with his family. #fatherday #bestgiftever” quote=”Time together is what they really want from you. “]
My father answered my question regarding his what his favorite gifts from us were. He shared that the gifts he cherishes most are the ones hand drawn and made with little hands. While simple in nature, they took time and thought.
I encourage you to incorporate one of these seven ideas into each gift you give your “dad”, and everyone else in your life, no matter what the occasion is.
I do hope my own father reads this post because if he does, he’ll see our gift here. You can as well.
Happy Father’s day to all you amazing dads. Without you our lives would be less than.
I know how much my lover does for all of us. And I think our kids realize just how blessed they are to have him as their father. Babe, you are so loved! Words cannot express all we feel for you. Thank you for being my rock, my BFF and my constant supporter. You are an amazing father and I couldn’t have asked for anyone better!
Celebrate the dads in your life because TIME goes so fast.
[clickToTweet tweet=”It’s in the memories we make that provide priceless presents. #happyfathersday” quote=”It’s in the memories we make that provide priceless presents. #happyfathersday”]
Your turn…Tell me which idea you choose and/or love most. How do you celebrate the fathers in your life?
Cheers to the Dads!