I have a soft spot for my dad. And with Father’s Day coming up next weekend, he’s on my mind. He is a simple man who doesn’t ask for much and works hard every day. He goes to bed early, gets up early, and is obsessed with weather. I find all of this endearing, and thinking about it makes me miss him. Unfortunately he lives five hours away, so I don’t get to see him as much as I would like to and that can make me feel disconnected. Maybe you’re close to your dad, or maybe you’d like to be closer. Either way, here are seven ideas to help you better connect with him.
- Call him. Yes, this seems obvious. But am I the only one who ends up telling my mom everything who then relays the info to my dad? Dad’s aren’t always chatty phone talkers. Set up a time once a week to touch base. If that feels too structured, text your dad more or talk to him on social media. FaceTime and Skype are also helpful tools when you live long distance.
- Eat lunch together. This doesn’t work for everyone, but if your dad is local, try setting up a lunch date every couple of weeks. Even a quick meal is enough time to catch up and reconnect.
- Ask about things he likes. You might be surprised how much your dad has to say once you get him talking about something he is interested in. Even if baseball isn’t your thing, show some interest and ask questions. Who are his favorite players? What has been the biggest upset so far this season? How does he want to see the season wrap up?
- Read a book together. Whether you get together to chat about it as you go or read it all at once and discuss over Skype, reading a book together can help structure conversation and spark lively discussion. Chose a book you will both enjoy and get something out of like The Battle Plan for Prayer.
- Engage in entertainment. Music, movies, and TV can be natural bridge-builders. Make a playlist of new (or old) music for him; watch a TV show at the same time and talk about it each week; go see this summer’s biggest blockbusters together in a cool theater.
- Share experiences. What does your dad like to do? Ask him about those things and make a plan to do them together. If he’s into gardening, let him teach you how to use Round Up and Miracle Grow; if he enjoys musicals, get tickets to see The Phantom of the Opera; if he likes to fish, plan a weekend to get out on the lake; if he’s a golfer, offer to drive the cart and help with his clubs.
- Ask him for help. Even if you are a grown woman with a husband, you will always be your dad’s little girl. Dads like to feel needed and valued. So asking for his opinion will make him feel important and part the process. Are you buying a new car? Ask if he knows of any deals. Planning a home renovation? Ask about the contractor he last used. Going through a tough time? Ask him to pray with and for you.
No matter what, making an effort shows your dad you love him and you care, and that will mean a lot to him. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and it doesn’t have to be the connection you have with your mom. It just has to be sincere.
Larissa Arnault Roach is the marketing strategist for LifeWay Women. She loves spending time with her dad on the farm. Together they go fishing, laugh at old Seinfeld episodes, and eat his homegrown tomatoes.