Holidays, like Independence Day, help us remember something or someone that is very important. Monuments also help us remember important events in history. Have you ever visited Washington, DC, and seen the Washington Monument? Why was it built? So that you and I would remember an important person and an important event. And how was it built? It was built with a lot of hard work so that generations and generations can come see it and remember.
Well, our children need us to build lasting monuments in their lives. I call them “memorable monuments.” Memorable monuments are things you do with and for your children that create lasting memories. These monuments are not always some big, planned, lengthy event or activity. They’re small monuments you choose to build into the foundation of their lives day by day. Here are a few things you can do to build memorable monuments with and for your child this summer.
Find your child’s favorite thing. Discover what your child most likes to do with you and then do that together on a weekly or monthly basis. Your child’s favorite thing may be photography, working on engines, jogging, biking, cooking, gardening, or attending movies. Ask, and then act on it.
Take adventures. Enjoy the great outdoors with your child. Camping, hunting, canoeing, river rafting, and photography safaris all create lasting memories. Outings to the aquarium, space center, kids’ museum, your state capital, or the nation’s capital also make great adventures.
Establish traditions. Do things that your children can pass down to their children. For example, next Fourth of July, read the Declaration of Independence and have a barbeque and games in the backyard.
Conduct video interviews. On camera, ask your child open-ended questions that capture who they are, what they are thinking, and what they like to do. These interviews will be priceless heirlooms for generations.
Revisit your childhood. Take your child to the house you grew up in, the school you attended, and the Little League field you played on. Give your child a sense of who you were at his or her age and talk about the joys and challenges of growing up.
Need more ideas for your time together? Here are 20.
What memorable monuments will you build with your kids this summer?
(Portions of the foregoing were excerpted from All Pro Dad: Seven Essentials to Be a Hero to Your Kids by Mark Merrill, Thomas Nelson publishers, 2012; available here.)