Reflecting on Father’s Day

58.Fathersongame.jpgI have to admit I enjoyed every bit of attention I received on Father’s Day this year! From the first wishes of "Happy Father’s Day!" before church to the great lunch to a few presents, it did make me feel special as a Dad. I am so thankful to have talked to my Dad on Father’s Day too, catching up via long distance without having to rush to some other appointment or responsibility.

We talked about Dads in our adult Sunday School class too. In fact, I introduced the topic by asking folks to reflect on those things they do, whether consciously or not, that they inherited from their parents and the way they were raised. This is always an interesting discussion!

I told the class Sunday that it was no accident that I have a love for baseball and that my kids seem to play baseball constantly. My Dad used to lie awake at night listening to games on the radio, read the box scores every morning, and watch and play baseball with my brother and me on Saturdays. There was no surprise on Father’s Day when we started talking about the College World Series and the Vanderbilt-North Carolina game. I had to chuckle about that tonight as I kept the score book at Christopher’s game and missed 4 phone calls from home to check the score. You might say I was distracted!

As I grow older and begin to understand a little bit more of what my parents were like at my age, I can’t help but think of the iconic movie, Field of Dreams. The mysterious baseball diamond in the cornfield becomes the setting where Kevin Costner’s character comes face to face with his deceased father as a young man, full of the hopes and dreams of youth. It reminds me that there is something so bonding about just playing with our kids whether it is sitting in the floor rolling a ball back and forth with your toddler, teaching your kindergartner to play checkers, or one of my favorites, a game of catch in the yard.

I still am moved as an adult when I hear a clip of my childhood coaching hero, Jim Valvano, deliver a famous speech at the ESPY Awards, establishing his V Foundation to find a cure for cancer. It was a mere 8 weeks before he died from cancer. Valvano said that he believed you should do three things every day to be fully alive: laugh, think, and cry.

As a Dad, I would add play to that list. To me, play is the love language my boys speak! It literally shows them that I love them and puts my words into action. Someday I hope they think fondly of those times together really living life … whether laughing, thinking, crying, or playing. Wishing you fond memories of your Dad and great memory-making moments with your kids!


The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

As we sat in terrible stop and go traffic Sunday on our way back from a Thanksgiving trip out of state, we listened to Christmas carols. We inevitably heard "It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" and had to chuckle sarcastically as we inched forward inch by inch! Despite so many things that can make holidays challenging, when it comes down to it, it is the time together as family that is one of the most wonderful things of life. Our time with family was precious, traffic or no traffic! These are the occasions that make lasting memories for parents and children alike.

3_william editor shot.jpgHowever, I could kick myself this year for forgetting to take my camera and video camera on our trip. I had to chuckle a few minutes ago when I perused "Christmas Memories" in our December 2009 issue of ParentLife. In this article for our Parenting Matters department, I wrote all about how preserving memories is such an important part of the holidays to our family. Boy, did I ever drop the ball for Thanksgiving this year! I am thankful for my father-in-law for loving photography, so I will be able to get photos to help us remember our Thanksgiving!

Nothing is more precious to me now than to look back on photos of memorable occasions like Christmas. I still have a copy of a Super 8 video my parents took of one of my first Christmases. I am rolling on the floor playing with my Dad and brother. Grandparents are standing around observing the festivities. I forever have footage of my family at that stage in life. That video also has become more precious with the deaths of my grandparents and brother. Seeing them brings back a flood of memories that no one can replace.

This Christmas, I want to think of the impact our time together will have on my children for generations to come — from the photos and video we take to the traditions we celebrate. Above all, I want my children to be aware that the season all centers around Jesus!

What is your favorite Christmas memory or tradition? Share with us by posting one of your favorites!