Last Tuesday I took my daughter to a movie after work. I had some free time because the New Life Bible class on Tuesdays had finished, and it was the last day of her vacation. She seemed to be very excited because she knew this would be her first and last date with her dad during her vacation. We bought a drink and a bag of popcorn to share. After the movie, we went to get chicken wings and talked about what’s happening in her life and the cutest boys at school and church. She’s starting high school this fall. Unlike many teenaged daughters, she still likes spending time with her dad. She seems to appreciate the time we’ve spent in the past.
Once when she was in pre-school, she came to our bedroom late at night and said, “I’m so hungry I can’t fall asleep.”
My wife said, “Go get milk from the refrigerator,” and went back to sleep. But I got up, heated rice and seaweed soup, and sat with her until she finished. From then on, I became the father who fixed rice and soup for her in the middle of the night when she was hungry, and my wife became the mother who continued to sleep when her daughter was hungry. My wife complains that despite all the things she’s done for her daughter, that single incident made me a good dad and her a bad mom.
Children remember little things. When I was in the corporate world, I was too busy to spend time with my family. But I made it a rule of mine to take my family overseas for a vacation once a year using my accumulated frequent flyer mileage. My daughter remembers. She still remembers our trip to Hong Kong when she was a toddler, the fried shrimp we ate in Tokyo when she was three years old, and our time at the San Francisco beach when she was 5 years old. Children remember things that happened when they were very young!
I encourage fathers to give their children many happy memories. Make surprise visits to your children at school with hamburgers during lunch time and eat with them. You may be remembered as a dad who brought them lunch despite your busy schedule. Watch movies with your daughter and cover her eyes and giggle when sex scenes come on. You may be remembered as a dad who understood her teenage daughter. When you come back from work, hug your wife in front of your children. Your daughters may decide to seek a man who is caring and loving like you.
Children grow fast and the time you have with them is short. They will leave you sooner than you think and be no more. Before that happens, make as many happy memories as you can.
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