As a child growing up I have many memories of spending quality time with my grandparents, especially my grandfather. He was a keen gardener who had three different allotments. He used to take me to his allotments to help with the digging and weeding, but the planting was only to be done by my grandfather – straight lines were very important to him!
I became very fond of him as he taught me about the different kinds of vegetables, the size of vegetables needed for competitions, and how you keep them looking their best. As a result of this time spent together, I have since had my own allotment, which always reminded me of special times with my grandfather.
I have good and fond memories of my grandfather; and yet I find it difficult to remember special times with my dad. I love my dad very much, he is an important person in my life now, but why is it I can’t remember going places with him, or doing special things together when I was young? It is because he worked long hours, and when he did get home, he was just too tired to spend quality time with me. As an adult I now feel I have more of a relationship with him then I did whilst growing up.
Rob Parsons in his book ‘The Sixty Minute Father’ says this:
“When it comes to being a good father, only one word matters. If you and I succeed in this, it won’t matter much that we haven’t been textbook fathers, or that we feel we’ve blown it in a hundred other ways. In spite of all that we’ve said about the importance of giving them time, you could be a father who has to be away a great deal, but if you capture the heart of this word you will not only enjoy your children but give them a security which will last a lifetime. And when your child as an adult, looks back on her young years and considers whether or not you were a good father, she will judge you by this simple word…relationship”.
People say that fathers were different ‘back then’, and bringing up children is not the same today. But why would that be the case? Fathers are still fathers, and children are still children. Yes, times are changing, and there does seem to be less and less time, with ever-increasing pressures and demands on family life. But should we allow these things to impact on the relationship with our children?
As Rob points out, when it comes to being a good father, there really is only one thing that matters and that is the relationship with your child. However you manage to find that time to spend with your children, remember this, that when you invest in your relationship with your children, you are building strong memories for their future.
I may not be able to change the past, but I can change the present. I am now building new memories with my dad, and choosing to make a difference with my own children – I am giving them memories now, for their future.
As toddler group leaders, let’s encourage the relationships between the dads and children coming through our doors. Let’s help them to make memories with their children that will last a lifetime.