Dads, I think many of you may not realize just how much you mean to your kids and what you bring to their lives! There is so much pressure upon dads to do so much for their families and I want to encourage you to relax a little and keep in mind that you don’t have to move mountains, or plan major events, to impact their lives and leave an indelible imprint upon them. Although major events and grand plans can become treasured memories, it’s often the little things–the “boring things”–that have the greatest effect and make the most cherished memories for your children as you are simply present in their lives, being a part of their ordinary. I know that is the case with myself and my own father. One of my favorite early memories of him is of the two of us simply lying on a chase lounge together out on the back patio on summer nights watching for falling stars–nothing special, no money involved, just lying there watching, talking, and being close.
I was recently watching the movie “Up” with three of our beautiful granddaughters when I realized that one of the major themes in this delightful movie brought this truth full circle. In the movie Carl Fredricksen, an elderly and childless widower, is accompanied inadvertently by Russell, an eight-year-old Wilderness Explorer trying to earn his one remaining badge–his “Elderly Assistant Badge.” Carl is on a quest to transport his house from his neighborhood to Paradise Falls in order to fulfill a dream of his beloved late wife Ellie. To accomplish this he ties thousands of balloons down through the chimney to lift it off its foundation. When the house takes flight, Russell happens to be on the front porch and away they go! During their sometimes dangerous adventure through jungle landscapes and rugged desolations the cantankerous old man and his exuberant young traveling companion begin to forge a meaningful friendship. Russell has shared that if he could just earn that badge his dad promised he would come to the ceremony to pin it on him. One evening while walking along quietly, with house in tow above them in the night sky, he also confides in Mr. Fredricksen about his waning relationship with his daddy, who now lives with his new wife Phyllis. Listen to this dialog under a bright moon:
Russell: “Know what Mr. Fredricksen? The wilderness isn’t quite what I expected.”
Mr. F: “Ya? How so?”
Russell: “It’s kinda wild…I mean it’s not how they made it sound in my book.”
Mr. F: “Get used to it kid.”
Russell: “My dad made it sound so easy. He’s really good at camping and how to make fire from rocks and stuff. He used to come to all my sweat lodge meetings and afterwards we’d go get ice cream from Fenton’s. I always get chocolate and he gets butterbrickle. Then we sit on this one curb right outside and I’ll count all the blue cars and he counts all the red ones. And whoever gets the most wins. (Thoughtful pause) I like that curb. It might sound boring…but I think the boring stuff is the stuff I remember the most.”
Then the action resumes and the moment is over. If you haven’t seen it, you’ll have to watch the movie to find out the ending. It’s definitely worth it! And maybe you could even watch it with your kids (or grand-kids, if you have them) while eating some ice cream.
Be encouraged dads! It’s the little, seemingly boring rituals that make the biggest memories and build the strongest bridges with your kids. Lighten up on yourself and go out there and bring on the boring…have some fun with them…and just remember how very special you are to your kids–be they still little or all grown up. God bless you as you lead and love your families. Each and every one of you are amazing, treasured, and LOVED!
Have a bright Father's Day!