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On the last day of our paddling trip down Desolation Canyon, my 6-year-old leaned over to me and said “Mom, I’m the luckiest person on this trip, because my best friend is here”. Being that he was the only kid on this trip surrounded by 11 adults, I was sure he was going to say it was his ever accommodating Grandma or an uncle that was always too happy to help him steal treats from another boat. “It’s Dad”, he said.
As I talked to him about why Dad was his best friend, my heart swelled with pride.
You see, with Mason being the only kid on the trip, we recognized that we would really need to spend some good time focusing on him so that this adventure was as epic and memorable for him as it was for us. During the long days paddling on the water, Andrew was constantly thinking up games and ways to keep him entertained. As soon as we would pull into camp each night, the two of them would quickly unload the boats and then just disappear. They spent their time climbing, skipping rocks, catching lizards, and pretty much any other adventure they could think of. It was paradise for a 6-year-old.
What did I do? I stayed at camp and over saw the cooking and set up (I was in charge of the food). It would have been really easy for me to get annoyed that they weren’t helping, as I stirred and chatted. I choose to help with something good, while Andrew chose to help with something better.
Andrew got IT, and I didn’t.
During the last 6 years of parenthood, there have been countless annoyances on my end as Dad skips out on helping me with something (typically dinner or dishes) to go play with the kids. I mean, it’s like he’s hardwired to never grow up and play all day. No, this isn’t just my husband – it’s men in general. They just want to play and that’s perfect because that’s exactly what our kids need more of!
This is why Dad’s will always be the favorite. They build special relationships this way. When they show kids that what’s important to them is important to him, an inseparable bond is formed.
I learned an important lesson from my son that day, on what’s important to him. Not just quality, or quantity, but both. Combine those with a genuine interest in what’s important to your kids, and you’ve got the magic combination for a fantastic relationship with your kids. Andrew sets a great example for me to follow. A reminder to choose between what’s good, better, and best.
That’s why we celebrate Father’s Day. Because those kids at heart, who we call Dad’s, will always be the favorite!