Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Night is Date Night!

The weekend is upon us again! Time to let our hair down  – well, most of us anyway. I trust that you’ve had a productive week of work and that you’re ready to make some time for downtime.
Something my wife and I have implemented in our household has really revolutionized our family life. Friday night is our weekly family date night. Much like when many of us were teenagers and just started dating, we looked forward with great anticipation to dates on Friday evenings. In my household growing up, we had school 5 days a week and we had to be in church on Sunday mornings, so the only day of the week that we could wake up at our leisure was Saturday.  On Friday night we could stay up as long as we wanted because we know that there was no huge agenda for the next morning.
Now as an adult who’s taking care of a family, Friday nights for me are precious. And I love to spend them with the people who mean the most to me – my wife and children. We try to be creative. Sometimes we go to a movie. Other times we go to the beach and play in the sand. And we try out different restaurants around town. Or we just stay in at home and enjoy each other’s company with movies and popcorn or playing board games. There’s no price tag I can put on these times  - they’re simply priceless.
One thing that my wife and children really appreciate is that I silence my cell phone during family night. I turn off the ringer and don’t even look at it.  No phone calls, no text messages, no instant messages, no emails, no Tweets, no Facebook messages. Nothing at all – this time is sacred. My 12 year old daughter, in particular appreciates this because she knows how involved I get with work and my various projects throughout each week that I do not get to just totally cut off the outside world and pay attention to her.
How about you? What time do you set aside for family time? Whether or not you’re married, if you’re a dad, do understand the importance of time with your kids. To them, it’s beyond valuable. Perhaps Friday nights may not work for you. When I was growing up, our family time was Sunday afternoons. Our dad would take the entire family for a couple hours drive to no place in particular. My mom and siblings really looked forward to that special time. And today, over 30 years later, the bonding that we had during those times still has a lasting impact on us.
I encourage you to set dates with your kids. Shower them with praises. Listen to them tell how things went at school during the week. Learn of the things that mean the most to them and let them know you care. The more important they feel with you at home, the less inclined they will be to go outside seeking affirmation from others.
If you haven’t tried this dating thing before, give it a try - you’ll love it. And your family will love you even more. Won’t you surprise them and start this weekend!

Enjoy the weekend! Oh, and of course, enjoy your date!
The Upbeat Dad

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