Currently there are 8 pumpkins decorating my house, they are all displayed across the front of my home. Halloween is this week and at my house that means pumpkins. We went as a family and handpicked our pumpkins at a local pumpkin patch out in the farmlands surrounding our community. It was a short but wonderfully fun adventure for us without any television or phones, except to take pictures. Every year we buy pumpkins for each person in our home and we spend an evening carving pumpkins as a family. Everyone gets one and with an 8 and 6 year old it can become quite a circus, but a whole lot of family time. They love digging in the “goop” (as they call it) inside the pumpkins and love to eat the seeds later after I roast them. I love the healthy snack and the laughs getting there.
We get one for everyone and then one for Jack, he is the lead character from my favorite movie The Nightmare Before Christmas. (I will link it if you have not seen it) Much like Santa, my girls leave Jack a treat and some cards with a pumpkin they picked out for him. In return he carves them a special pumpkin way beyond their abilities that he thinks they will enjoy. Last year he carved them a beautiful sugar skull and this year a lovely Lion King themed design.
The more important thing at work here is the tradition that is all ours. You see, carving night is almost more important than trick or treating. It is uninterrupted family time and laughter with us all participating and partaking in the same activity. My kids are deeply and completely engaged with all of us focused on, well, us.
I am not a big person for traditions or sentiments, my wife can attest that I am not far off the Mike Baxter character in the Last Man Standing TV show when it comes to holidays. I generally despise most of them and completely ignore other ones.
I do believe in creating your own family traditions, things unique to your family that you can share together. Not traditions in the sense of activities done only on rare occasions but things that are unique to your family’s life work as well. I am talking about things you do with your kids as a father that are not “everyday life” even if they become everyday life in the process. Things for example like my family’s Tuesday mornings during the summer; we alternate fishing and hiking every other week. We get up early and head off on an adventure. The rest of the week may be plagued by normal life requirements like work, grocery shopping, dishes and so on; but that time is ours to just focus on being together.
A newer tradition or “dedicated activity” is my weekly work meeting with my children. If you have read many of these blogs you already know I encourage and help my children to learn about business, finances and other things they will not learn in school. If not, I will link the blog post for you where I explain our program. https://www.thefallibleman.com/post/investing-101
Many of you know I sell shirts on our site and through other vendors. My children have their own business; DG Designs, “Making Shirts 4 Kids by Kids” (dgirls.rebubble.com). On Wednesdays we take their ideas and release new shirt designs (also stickers, cups, phone cases etc) for their business. You can find them on Instagram @dggirlsdesigns.
This is our time where we get to work together to realize their creativity along with learning business and finance. They wait all week to build out their new idea, maybe it will make some money and maybe it will not sell anything. It will teach them valuable lessons, help them to think creatively and empower them to know they can do things if they decide to put in the work. It helps them understand some of what I do and most importantly it gives us something to do that is unique to us, creates quality time as well as teachable moments and makes them proud. They helped their friend run his lemonade stand recently. This translated to discussions on supply chain, earned income versus royalty or passive income and return on investment. My children grew in knowledge and I am loving every minute. As fathers we try to make sure and equip our children to surpass our accomplishments.
My daughters are also learning basic gun safety and how to use a firearm properly (range time is a special time with the older one, her little sister is not quite ready yet, but it won’t be long). We don’t get to go all the time, but she is equipped with a rifle the correct size for her and had memorized the 4 basic rules for shooting long before she even knew what the range was. She also had to memorize the basic rules for how to conduct herself at the range if she wanted to be allowed to go to the range.
Your special activities and family traditions are likely a little different than ours, or maybe they are identical (that would be weird). Whatever they are; having family traditions is critical for raising your children. Dads, share an adventure, have hobbies with your children (my kids also like to turn a wrench on the motorcycle with me). These are the things that will keep you strong in your relationship as they grow up and become busier young people. These are the things they will remember about their childhood. The “thing” is less important than the time spent and emotions experienced during these times of “doing” together things. Take up a hobby they like. As a youth minister I started playing “World of Warcraft” because half my kids played it and watched “Gilmore Girls” because some of our teens liked it.
Being together doing something (screen time less valuable) is the key.
“Dad” is an important term and one I wear with honor. Make the most of it while you can. The old song “Cat’s in the Cradle” is way too true. Make the moments and the song will never be you.
Thanks for joining me.
The Fallible Man
Be better tomorrow because of what you do today!