Friday, July 14, 2006
Mat-Su Glacier & Parenting
I have a tradition with the kids. Once the kids reach 5th grade, I start to take them on a once yearly dad-kid trip. It's usually supposed to be something close and cheap, like a weekend camping & fishing. But sometimes I get unusually good opportunities to do other things. This year, with Dylan, I had so many frequent flyer points that I decided to take us up to Alaska to visit my brother, nephews, and his new bride - Wendy.
I initially started the tradition because we were planning a large family and I wanted to build in ways to remind my kids how much I loved them individually, without any competition from their siblings for my attention. I also envisioned the possibility of a day (in their teens) when conversation with dad might not come so freely. So I wanted to build a fun tradition that had lots of unstructured time together so that we'd always be able to talk - and not just smalltalk, but talking about real values, priorities, and the deeper things in life.
I'm not sure if this is something that my mentors at AllProDad have put on their list, but I think it's something that they should consider. Here's a list of things that AllProDad recommends to make a part of your life to automatically spend time with them:
- Commit to a family mealtime each day.
- Write your children's activities into your schedule book - in ink!
- Identify one thing on your weekly schedule you can do without and replace it with kid time.
- Take one of your children along when you run errands.
- Volunteer to participate in a regularly scheduled child activity, such as coaching a softball team or helping with a school activity.
- Identify one children's show on TV that you secretly like to watch and make a point of watching it with your child.
- Develop an interest in a hobby you and your child can enjoy together.
- If your work requires that you travel, take one of your children along with you when your business trip can be extended into a long weekend.
- If your work schedule is flexible, start your work day earlier so you can get home earlier in the afternoon to be with your family.
- Leave your work, cellular phones and pagers at home when you go on family vacations and outings.
One of the most fun things we got to do in Alaska was go to the Matanuska Glacier (aka Matsu) Glacier. It's an active and HUGE glacier (24 miles x 4 miles) that moves a foot closer to the sea every year. It was one of the funnest hikes I ever took!