Years ago my older son, then a teenager, and I dropped by the local Hallmark shop to find Cynthia a card for Mother's Day. Somewhat bored with the process, Curt wandered back to the posters and soon called me to come look at one he liked. It was a picture of a boat on a very still lake at dawn. A father was sitting at one end, his son at the other, fishing. Both were smiling, obviously enjoying those leisure hours together. Two words were neatly printed at the bottom of that exquisite scene of solitude: TAKE TIME.
It got me thinking about how seldom we really take time to be with our children. Some time later, l saw a column in Newsweek entitled "Dear Dads: Save Your Sons," by Christopher Bacorn, a psychologist living in Boerne, Texas. I still can't shake myself free from his words.
I have come to believe that most adolescent boys can't make use of professional counseling. What a boy can use, and all too often doesn't have, is the fellowship of men—at least one man who pays attention to him, who spends time with him, who admires him. A boy needs a man he can look up to. What he doesn't need is a shrink . . . . The great majority of youthful offenders are male, most without fathers involved in their lives in any useful way. Many have never even met their fathers.
What's become of the fathers of these boys? Where are they? Well, I can tell you where they're not. They're not at PTA meetings or piano recitals. They're not teaching Sunday school . . . .
Where are the fathers? They are on golf courses, tennis courts, in bowling alleys, fishing on lakes and rivers. They are working in their jobs, many from early morning to late at night. Some are home watching television, out mowing the lawn or tuning up the car. In short, they are everywhere, except in the company of their children.1
What do you do when you have a free day, a holiday, or even a few available hours? Are you tempted to fill this time with "necessary" work projects or a whole day on the links with a few of your buddies? Before saying yes to the above, stop and ask yourself, "Why not spend some quiet time with one of my kids?"
Before it's too late . . . take time.
When was the last time you really spent time—real time—with your child? Make time right now to do it. Take time to rebuild a relationship.
- Christopher N. Bacorn, "Dear Dads: Save Your Sons," Newsweek, December 7, 1992.
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