Hopefully you were able to catch part 1 of the two part series of “Unforgettable Moments.” If you didn’t, make sure and catch it here 20 Unforgettable Moments to Spend with Your Children Part 1. As we learned in part 1, spending those precious experiences with your children will help shape their lives in so many rich ways. Below is another set of ten “Unforgettable Moments” that will encourage you to take your parenting to the next level. Don’t wait any longer, go for it!
1. Serving Together: One of the most enjoyable things to do with your children is to serve together. You could be helping the elderly couple next door cleaning up their yard, you could deliver Thanksgiving baskets to the needy, you could be volunteering at church together or simply hosting another family over for dinner to be an encouragement to them. Just as we are, children are looking for purpose in their lives. In the midst of your busy life and schedule, make sure that serving with your kids is at the top of your list.
2. Comforting them when they’re sick: As you know, sometimes kids can get gut wrenching sick. I remember as a 7th grader getting the flu so badly that my fear of the dark at the time simply did not matter. I can remember my chicken pox outbreak, my fevers that were so high I had to take baths with ice and many others. Those “trials” stick with you even though it’s now decades later. Your kids will remember them to, but they’ll remember more of how you took care of them during that time. I try to picture as a parent how God takes care of me and I attempt to transfer some of that love and care to my kids. It’s amazing how a child’s viewpoint of God often stems from their relationship with their parents-especially the father. Don’t just leave your child to suffer through it, help them get through the trial, endure it properly and strengthen themselves to move on past it.
3. Visiting historical places: For whatever reason, visiting historical places gives a child roots that span beyond his or her lifetime. Kids often get wrapped up in their own world, thinking that everything revolves around them. When they see that people lived previously to us with different or the same struggles, yet they accomplished great feats amidst overwhelming odds; it encourages them to do the same. I remember visiting the Oregon Trail with my children and all of us were amazed at the perseverance and faith it took to make such journey. To see and feel the ruts that the wagons had been in, the names carved into the wall documenting their journey and sometimes struggles was mesmerizing. Whether it’s local historical sites in your city, in your state, your country or another country; these experiences can make a huge lasting impression on kids on all sorts of levels
Part of the Oregon Trail
4. Praying with your kids: Praying with your kids is just as important if not more important than any other life skill you’ll teach them. They learn to talk with God just as you model for them. When you take the time to pray for a need, someone else or expressing praise to God, your children pick up those patterns. Part of this that we often miss is blessing our kids. You’re praying over them, laying hands on them for God’s protection, His blessing and His guiding through life. My kids will often ask me to bless them and when their sick or distressed, they ask me to pray for them. These are the types of good habits that they need to establish in life- so it’s best to start early.
5. Road trips: Anyone up for a road trip? Whether you enjoy road trips or not, you can’t deny that you have a captive audience for “x” amount of hours. I can remember my family taking three day road trips to Texas from Michigan and all the memories in between. The stops at our favorite hotels on the way, the restaurant that we’d visit and even the po-dunk gas stations out in the middle of nowhere. I used to dwell on the scenery, the passing cars and just dream. I worked through life, dreamt of what life would be like when I got older and of course had those fun conversation with my brother and family. If you can’t afford a full road trip, take a day trip just to get out and explore. Your kids will love these times and you’ll share some experiences that they’ll never forget!
6. Uncomfortable moments: Uncomfortable moments are different for everyone. What I mean by uncomfortable moments are the things that happen that seem so inconvenient, or a hassle as an adult, but your children view them as such as opportune time to experience something different. Maybe it’s when the electricity goes out and you have to wear winter gear to bed just to stay warm, or when it’s a blizzard outside and your kids ask you to go out and play in the snow or when you’re walking up the stairs and the kids see your leg as their ride up them. Life is full of uncomfortable moments-right? I remember when we lived in Denver it hailed and rained like we’ve never seen before. It used to flood the area around our house several inches deep. Guess what my kids wanted to do and they didn’t want to do it alone. Now, I don’t have a problem getting wet, but did I really want to go out and slide in six inches of muddy water with who knows what floating by? I think you know the answer, but when I give up and embrace some of these uncomfortable experiences with my kids, those are some of the most enjoyable and memorable times we’ve had.
7. Seasonal Traditions: Beyond holidays, there are so many traditions that you can establish as a family. Maybe it’s that special hangout that you go every year when the leaves start turning, or the favorite fishing spot or even the summer nights to the ice cream place. Children love routine and it gives them structure and something to look forward to. If you’re less creative, a simple search online will deliver thousands of results for seasonal traditions to try. We enjoy picnics at certain times of the year, camping and roasting marshmallows or even living room sleep overs as a family. Whatever you do, try some different things and maybe fit them into your schedule every year.
8. Wrestling: I can’t tell you how important the physical contact is with my children. Yes, sometimes there are bruises and even bloodshed from us getting too rough, but I can tell when I go long periods of time without wrestling-it affects their emotional state. Whether you have boys or girls, having that physical touch through rough housing, tickling or just physical interaction really deepens your relationship with your kids. Again, taking time to be personal with them goes so far. If you’re detached emotionally, never showing physical affection than you children will feel the effects of that. They have to know the smell of your skin, feel the strength of your body and even the scruffiness of an unshaven beard. Kids will never forget this close of interaction. Remember that everything we do, pictures how God is with his children. If you’re intimate and show them that personal affection (even through play time), they will project that on God and feel that he is personal and intimate with them as well.
9. Through a trial: Going through a trial as a family can be one of the greatest lessons a child ever experiences. Whether the trial is handled properly or not, the child will learn-somethings good, somethings bad. The important thing is to help them view their trials from a biblical standpoint and learn how to cope with them responsibly. I remember when I was unemployed for 9 months a few years back. As a family, that was a difficult time since we had worked hard to save our money previously, sell our home for a profit and look to start fresh with all the “security” we had built up. God had different plans and all that effort and saved money went to expenses while I was out of work. Thankfully we had the money to float us through, but it was a stressful time. I do however remember praying with my kids for a new career, thanking God together for his provision and praying and seeking God more than I ever have in my life. Even though I was out of work, I finished my first book during that time Lights Out! which had been a lifelong dream of mine. I wouldn’t have been able to finish it without that extra time of being unemployed. I tell that story to my kids that although live throws you curve balls, God always has a plan behind it. These are invaluable lessons that will stick with your kids the rest of their lives.
10. Helping them embrace their milestones: Every child has milestones and the better job we do as parents to help them embrace and pass those milestones with flying colors, the better foundation our children will have at taking on life. These could be graduations, overcoming fears or past limitations, concrete spiritual decisions, puberty, etc. We have to recognize the struggle and challenge in a child’s world to help them hurdle these experiences in life. We’ve been through many of them as adults and assume our children can get through them if we did. Children need life coaches, encouragers, mentors, and tough love to help them navigate and make sense of their struggles. You as a parent have that opportunity like no one else. They’ll survive without your help, but wouldn’t you rather them thrive with your help? Look at your child’s life today. What are they going through or about to go through that they need an anchor for their ship- to say “stay the course, you’re on the right track; you can do it!” These words and ones like them are profound in the ears of your child. Don’t let the busyness of life prevent you from noticing these milestones.
This has certainly been one of my longer posts (part 1 & 2), but one of the more important ones I believe. Your children only grow up once and you only have a chance of parenting them at this stage-once. Don’t throw that away for lesser goals or experiences. Embrace the richness that you can have in a deep relationship with your children and you’ll never regret it.
Feel free to email me or comment with any of your suggestions or tips. If you like the content that RelevantParenting provides, please follow my blog or subscribe to my Youtube channel RelevantParenting. God bless you and I pray God encourages you to make the most of your time with your kids!