Love. We are called to love God, love our spouse, love our kids, love our neighbors and strangers. Love takes on different forms. Sometimes we show love through encouraging words, sometimes we show love through an act of kindness or service, sometimes we show love through spending time with one another.
We have three boys and they each have different needs and experience love in different ways but one thing we have found is that each one feels loved when we spend time 1:1 with them. This can be hard to do in the busyness of life and if we aren’t intentional it will quickly get lost in the shuffle of other ‘things.’
So in our family we have ‘date nights.’ As I mentioned we have three boys and so to keep track of ‘whose turn it is’ we have a rotation that we follow. The boys can not wait for their turn to arrive, for their turn to go out! Although they usually know whose turn is next, I have dry erase calendar on our wall and I simply write the names of who is going next on Friday. We keep it simple but fun. Sometimes it’s a trip to Sixteen Handles for a frozen treat, sometimes dinner out, perhaps a trip to Panera for a programming lesson with daddy (this is my older boys newest choice when it’s their turn with daddy), but most often it’s been a trip to the arcade and a treat in the food court at our mall – it doesn’t really matter to them what we do just so long as they have 1:1 time with us.
We are on a six week rotation, rotating through Jeff and I each taking the boys out. So the first week it is Jeff/Andrew, then Missy/Ryan, then Jason/Jeff and so on. Sometimes life gets busy, we get sick, or we have another commitment on Friday night and that’s okay, that’s life. We don’t let it derail us, we simply pick up the next week where we left off. Before we were even parents I heard a quote by Josh McDowell which made absolute sense to me and helped me realize the extreme importance of developing a relationship with my children. In How to Be a Hero to Your Kids, Josh McDowell says:
Rules + Relationship = Response
Rules – Relationship = Rebellion
This is one of the reasons we have weekly date night. While it’s never too late to work on building a relationship with your children and God can restore even broken relationships, starting when they are little is very beneficial. Playing with your kids, taking them on dates, joining in on a board game, being willing to stop what you are doing and listen when your child is ready to talk all say “I love you” to your children.