Don’t spend time together. Build things together instead.
Spending time with your kids is important, but not unforgettable. Building stuff together is — and here is why.
I was fortunate enough to spend some quality time with my folks when I was a kid. I remember watching Love and Marriage with my dad when I was way too young for that. I remember going shopping with my mom (she still has my shopping list from 1991 with quite a few typos). These memories of spending a good time together are nice, but… there isn’t much more to it, no story to tell.
But there is a story to be told, nevertheless. I was building stuff with them, too.
Moms can have it their way…
My mom was a playdough master when I was born (she made a living out of it, acutally). When I was 7 or 8, to celebrate that I was given a key to our home for the first time, we made a custom-made key pendant. It was a pink, bulging piglet, with playdough ears, eyes and tail. I think I did the roundy parts of it, and my mom did the details… And although it broke quite quickly, I still remember it. More importantly, I remember my mom and me making it together.
…and Dads in their own, too.
But it doesn’t have to end when kids turn to teenagers, really. When I was 16, my dad gave me his bike. And gave me my mom’s bike, too. And then he gave me his whole Saturday, his skills, his tutoring, his time — and together we turned those two bikes into one. Wheels from A, brakes from B, gears from A, seat from B. Together, we created one fine bike, and discarded the leftovers.
Why bother? Because you are a superhero.
Because I remember how impressed I was with my mom’s skills. I was overwhelmingly proud that my mom can do such marvels with her hands. Every kid knows that their mom is the prettiest, but my was also way more than that.
Because every time I fix my wife’s bike, I tell her that all I know about bikes I learnt from my dad that Saturday. And it saved my ass a countless times already.
Be this kind of parent. Be a creator, a guru, an inspiration and teacher. Don’t limit yourself to being a company or a participant in those menial activities, don’t box yourself into the cinema-restaurant-icecream triangle.
Just spending time is not enough
I wish every parent could build with their kids. Show them that creation is achievable, valuable and fun. Grow in their kids’ eyes, earn huge respect while empowering them with new skills. Don’t just spend time watching cartoons about superheroes — become one in your childrens’ eyes instead.