So the summer has finally arrived and all my fellow dads are saying AMEN! We start thinking of fishing, biking, golfing, grilling, and all things outdoors. After the bone chilling winter all of us Chicago-ians experienced, we are ready to break out of the freeze and jump in the pool until we get nice and wrinkly.
But not so fast dads…
Before we check out and run off into the summer sunset, I think it’s vitally important that we don’t leave our family in the dust. Sure some of those things I mentioned above can involve your family, but often we see those as our personal releases. While I believe that is completely needed and warranted I also want to challenge you to spend time with your family too.
Here are 4 Summer “Musts” For Dads.
#1 – Don’t Take A Summer Break From God
I see it all the time. When the thermostat goes up, church attendance goes down. Now don’t get me wrong, heading out for a weekend trip is not a bad thing at all. We do it too believe it or not! The dangerous part is when you miss the whole summer. As dads, our kids need to know that worshiping God isn’t seasonal. We must lead in our commitment to come together to learn from God’s word and connecting with other people through service and community. Stay connected with God by coming to church even if it means wearing your swimming trunks so you can jump right back in the pool. Remember what the writer of Hebrews says:
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Just remember, a relationship with God is not a seasonal activity.
#2 – Date Your Wife
When church attendance dips it usually will mark a decline in the happiness in marriages too. While you are staying committed to attending church make a point to attend to your wife’s needs too. Warmer weather reduces the number of excuses you have for dating your wife. Make a point to go on a date at least once a week this summer even if only for an hour while the kids play at the neighbors. Swap out a couple hours here and there with friends so they can get some time away too! Invest in the relationship with your wife with the same intensity you care for your lawn, car, or golf swing. You’ll be amazed that the results in your marriage are far more rewarding.
#3 – Spend Time With Your Kids (bleachers don’t count)
I am realizing more and more how busy our kids are getting these days. I really love seeing Aniston playing t-ball, gymnastics, and dance, but I also know that when I’m watching her through a glass window or sitting in a camping chair I’m not really spending time with her. I’m spending time around her but not with her. The fact that Easton is there and we get to hang out on the swings is awesome, but even then my attention is divided. My challenge to myself and to you is to take this summer and spend time with your kids. I’m not saying stop attending their activities, but I’m am saying make a point to hang out with them one-on-one. Go for a bike ride, take them fishing, let them help you wash the car, or even grab a few sandwiches and have a picnic. Don’t worry no one will revoke your man card.
Here are a few places to get ideas:
#4 – Make A Difference In Your Community
I know that when summer hits we all find ways to get away and spend extra time doing stuff. The relaxation factor is critical to recharging our batteries before the next winter blast hits, but that can only last so long. All of us as men have a desire to fix things, go on a mission, or get our hands dirty. My final challenge to you is to make a difference in your community with the extra time you have this summer. Involve your family in this process as you teach them the value of giving back, taking care of those in need, and being selfless. There are needs all around you so don’t make the excuse you don’t know where to start! Ok, let me give you a list to jump off from:
- Ask a local church for a list of the organizations they support and call one of them.
- Find a soup kitchen for the homeless and volunteer.
- If you kids are old enough, grab the lawn mowers and start mowing people’s yards for free.
- Grab a bag and some gloves and pick up trash on the side of the road.
- Set up a free car wash with no strings attached for the neighborhood.
- E-mail me and come paint my house
Summer is great, but just like Christmas decorations the excitement fades after a few weeks. Don’t get into a summer rut this year. Be intentional about what you do with your individual free time, but also with the time you spend with you family. Never lose sight that where you find your most joy and energy is in the family God has given you. Spending time with them and working on your relationship with God will grow you more than you ever thought possible. Get into this habit now and regardless of what the thermostat says you will always be warm inside.