Friday, September 3, 2010

The Frog in the Car

Time does fly when you're having fun. That's what the proverbial cliche says -- and I think its a true statement. It seems like the summer just got started and here we are sending our children off to school for another year.

I hope you all took some time to enjoy the time with your children. It's far too easy to get busy with hobbies and business and yard-work and house repairs and, However important some of that stuff may seem (and it all has a certain priority in our lives), it needs to take second stage to the relationships in each of our lives. I read a great quote from an interview with Micheal J. Fox. The writer asked him to share some advice on parenting that begins "Always ..." "Always", said Fox, "be available to your kids ... I've never gotten up to see something one of my kids wanted to show me and not been rewarded." True enough.

Children require a lot of time -- both quality and quantity. So of course go to those football and basketball games to cheer on your kids, but don't neglect getting involved in their interests. Growing up, my Dad loved to go fishing. He'd wake my brother and I up at 4 AM so we could load up the boat and get to the lake or river by dawn. Frankly, I never loved getting up at 4 in the morning, and I never developed a deep and abiding love of fishing (at least not cleaning them). I did love frogs and turtles and that sort of thing though. I will never forget my Dad forgoing the fishing and asking me to go catch bull frogs and turtles with him. Not to eat, just for the fun of it. That was a fun day. Getting up at 4 AM wasn't hard that day, and paddling our canoe up the river wasn't a hardship. We slipped in behind bullfrog after bullfrog and caught a whole bunch that day. Even a couple turtles came home with us.

Somewhere along the way home in the car, the frogs got loose. The picture of my Dad driving and a bullfrog sitting next to him on the seat is one I will never forget. After we released them into our pond at home, we'd hear them mooing in low tones that whole summer. And it made a very fond memory and bonding experience. Why? Because my Dad took time to get into my world and enjoy the day.

We never know what memories will stick in our child's mind. It could be the hours spent cheering them on at a ball game or it could just be ...the frog in the car.