What Will They Say When They Are Gone?

Father’s Day has come and gone. The very thought of the day can bring anger, disappointment or regret too many. On the other hand, it can be a day of delight, pride and tremendous peace. It all depends on the kind of father you have or had and the kind of father you are or were.

All my kids are out of our house and married. Two have their own children. Our parenting years are pretty much gone, even though we still inject our direction and advice whenever we can.

So father’s day for me is different from those who are in the middle of parenting on a 24/7 schedule. For me it is a reflection on the past. And I love it because it gives my sons a chance to express their thoughts and feelings about my parenting. Here are a couple of their written comments from Father’s Day cards I received this year.

“I am so lucky to have a father like you. I don’t think that you were perfect, but you were excellent. I owe the man I am to who you are. Thank you for being in our lives.”

“Thank-you for giving me an example of what a good, God-fearing father should be. Everything I know how to do with my son I learned from you. Thank you for that example. I don’t often say it with words, but I appreciate the father you have been and the grandfather you will be.”

Father’s Day helps me see whether or not I really made a difference in the life of my sons by the words they express back to me, now that they are out on their own.

Which leads me to ask, what will your kids say about you once they are gone from your house? When they are out on their own what will their feelings and expressions be as they look back? Will they be able to authentically say the kind of things that make you feel overwhelmed with pride that you were their father (or mother)?

If you have your doubts or if you are sure it won’t be that rewarding, then what do you need to do right now to make a change? What do you need to develop, get rid of or redirect in your parenting approach? I would encourage you to not wait another day to get right what is currently wrong.

By the way, what do you feel are the most important qualities of a great dad that needs to be consistently evident in out parenting approach? Would you care to share your convictions?

For example, I believe an excellent model is one. Someone was right on when they said, “We teach what we know, we reproduce what we are.” And Albert Schweitzer said, “Example is not the main thing in influencing others-it is the only thing.” So the model we set forth will eventually be set in our children.

Our children are like play-doh. We are daily making impressions in their lives that over time will become set and very difficult to change. So make sure we are making the kind of impression we want to be with them for life.

What else do you feel is a non-negotiable when it comes to parenting?

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Keeping Romance Alive

A marriage, just like any living thing must be nurtured. A relationship is very similar to a plant. Plants must be cared for and maintained. They must be given healthy doses of nourishment, water and sunlight. Otherwise they will wilt, wither and die.

It borders on insanity to think that a plant can continue to grow and produce without proper attention and elements. It is even more insane to think that a marriage can remain healthy and romantically alive without the same attention and nourishment.

And yet, for so many relationships, nourishment is an afterthought rather than a consistent habit. It might or it might not happen. And if it does happen it is often so infrequent that it fails to make any real difference in the starved relationship.

In addition to its absence, in many relationships it fails to even be a subject of discussion. It is just accepted that the relationship is “OK” or boring or hurting but it is better than nothing. Or it is better than a lot of others relationships we know about.

What a miserable way to exist. What a poor substitute for something that is intended to be so fulfilling and healthy. What a sell out to mediocrity. What a shame.

Granted, marriage is work. Marriage is hard. Relationships are demanding and challenging. They stretch and require of us far more than we ever envisioned giving.

But they are intended to be satisfying and growing. They are designed to be healthy and fulfilling. They are meant to be a pleasure rather than a burden.

So the question becomes, how do you keep the romance in the relationship? Are their any keys or secrets to nourishment and nurturing? What works and what is to be avoided?

Someone emailed a brief formula to me earlier this week that they learned very early in their relationship.

Depart Daily (5-10 minutes of real conversation)
Withdraw Weekly (date night)
Retreat Regularly (get away alone together)

So please help our readers discover some new and refreshing ideas for keeping the romance alive in their relationship. What are some things you have done or continue to do? What are some different things you might have done at different stages in your marriage?

You are even invited to share things you have tried that bombed. Or ideas you heard about but have never tried yourself. We just want some ideas and help.

We are thirsting for ways to nurture the most important relationship we have as we exist in a world that will kill that relationship if we are not on our guard and intentional about moving against the prevailing tide.

While our kids were at home, Sharon and I became fans of Bed and Breakfasts. We would secure child care and at least once or twice a year we would run away to one even if it were in the same town we lived in. One time Sharon blindfolded me and drove me around for about an hour to keep me from knowing our destination. We ended up at a gorgeous B & B about five miles from our house. What a romantic get away that was!

I hesitate to share this one with you but I think it has something to do with romance. Last night Sharon asked me if I would remove the old polish from her toes. She said I could do a better job of it than she could. I was so tired and I just said there is no way I could. I was going to sleep ASAP.

Well, this morning I had to leave early to go to a meeting on the West End. Before I left the bedroom I whispered in her ear, “If your toenails aren’t done by tonight I will give you a pedicure. Do you think they will be done by the time I get home? When pigs fly!

By the way, ask your wife if she would consider a pedicure to be a romantic act. Would you dare to share her response?

Here are a couple links to a great website and a great article that are guaranteed to enhance your romance.

http://www.romanceinmarriage.org/

http://www.christianitytoday.com/mp/2004/002/4.22.html

Now, what ideas can you share?