Men: Lead at Home (8)

In this post, I want to hit on two ways I deliberately connect with my daughters above and beyond our normal week-in and week-out routines.  The first is what I call “Daddy Breakfasts” and the second is “Daddy Dates.”

Daddy Breakfasts

cappucciosDaddy Breakfasts consist of me and one of my daughters heading out for Saturday morning breakfast alone together to the place of their choosing.  I started this with Iris over a year ago and more recently have made an effort to make it more consistent.  Iris’ favorite place to go is the local coffee shop (Cappuccino’s) because she loves the chocolate cupcake that she can get there that is the size of her head.  She also picks out a cookie for her after-nap enjoyment.  Once we’re there, she picks where we sit and then we just hang out and chat.  She’s old enough now that we can conversate but before she was, I’d get a news paper and she’d sit beside me with crayons and color on the Sports page while I caught up on the Cardinals and enjoyed some good coffee.

bobevansLydia is my younger daughter (16 months).  She had her first official Daddy Breakfast about a month ago.  I will never forget the look of disappointment and sadness that swelled up on Iris’s face by way of tears and red cheeks when she learned that she would be staying home while I took Lydia out to breakfast.  She saw it as a personal attack on our own little tradition and so Meg and I helped her to see the importance of Daddy and Lydia having that same tradition and connection.  After that was smoothed over, Lydia and I hit up Bob Evans (aka Bobby E’s) because she’s too little to decide where she wants to go and I love the Country Biscuit Breakfast.  She’s still doing the coloring thing which means I get to catch up on the news a little but I still attempt to make is as interactive as possible and not be the dude chatting on his cell phone while hanging out with his daughter over a meal.

Daddy Dates

cardsDaddy Dates are more special, less frequent outings (maybe twice a year) with me and one of the girls heading out alone together to a place of their choosing.  Actually, we haven’t yet graduated to “the place of their choosing”, but that’s the direction we’re heading.  Lydia is still too little for these (will probably start next spring or summer), but Iris and I started them last summer by hitting a couple of Cards games down in the city.  We’d load up in my truck, head down and catch a train, ride down, catch a few innings (as many as she could handle), enjoy a hot dog and some popcorn, then catch the train back out to the ‘burbs and head home from the station.  It turns out that little Iris is quite the lady luck (see here and here).  More recently, Iris and I had an outing to see a ballet at Powell Hall.  We had a blast.  Next up?  Not sure, but I know it will be a ton of fun.

To the men out there: what are some creative ways for you to increase your quality time with your kiddos?  How can you get to know them better?  How can you create opportunities for them to choose something to do or somewhere to go – alone with their daddy?  It doesn’t have to be fancy, it doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does have to be intentional.  My challenge is for us as men to be intentional with our kids – connecting with them, knowing them, and allowing them to know us.

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~ by toddbumgarner on April 13, 2009 12:31 pm.

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