Connecting With Your Kids Series: #4-Connecting the WWJD Way.

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As a father of four, I’m feeling the shortness of days that are left while my children are at home. It won’t be long before Anna and I are on our own again. My oldest is already launched and her three younger brothers are not far behind. I’m feeling a healthy pressure to make the most of every opportunity (Eph 5:16) while we’re still doing life together at home. In fact, seizing those opportunities, becoming more “connection-aware,” is one of my “Year of Living Courageously” goals for 2010.

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Yet, one of the challenges to creating quality connection time with young adults and teens is that they are constantly on the move. They’re forming social connections of their own, exploring the world of friendships through Facebook, texting, video games and the more traditional means of sports activities and hanging out. So I began to ask myself, “How can I break through the day-to-day activity clutter and create a special time with them?” For years we’ve had “date nights” with each of them; one-on-one time with just Anna or me. While we haven’t executed date nights religiously or flawlessly, it’s something each of them have responded to very well. But this year I wanted to do something different—something even more intentional and memorable.

Joshua at the St. Louis Arch

So, earlier this year I suggested to each of our children that we put date-nights on steroids. We’d do a WWJD—“Weekend With Just Dad.” We’d plan together how we want to spend our weekend getaway, just the two of us. They were thrilled and so was I. Immediately, Joshua, our third-born suggest that our WWJD be a college road trip to St. Louis and Waco to check out a couple of colleges he had an interest in.

Last week, we completed our WWJD spending nearly 40 hours on the road. It was more like a week than a weekend, but it was also invaluable for connection. Sure, we could have flown, and we would have been less tired, but we would have also missed out on a lot of captive time in the car container. We would have missed out on a lot of laughs at funny road signs (“Bizarre Cattle Crossing”), Garrison Keillor’s Iowa jokes on CD, and the surprising results of the top ten silliest college mascots. Mostly, we would have missed out on the deepening connection that comes with just being with each other for an extended period of time. While we returned home exhausted, we both couldn’t wait for our next WWJD.

For discussion: What WWJD or extended one-on-one experiences have you had with your children and how did it affect your relationship?

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