This Saturday I went on a breakfast date with one of my daughters and got to hear her insightful opinion on medicine commercials. Out of the blue she shared the following:
Annie: “My least favorite commercials are the commercials for medicine because they always have weird side effects, like diarrhea or swollen tongues…
“Why does there have to be side effects? It’s medicine. It’s supposed to help you, not make you worse. I don’t want to need more medicine for the medicine I just took.”
Getting to hear a 9 year old’s perspective on diarrhea and the medical drug industry are some of the main reasons why I love going on dates with my kids. For one thing, it’s always entertaining. There will always be at least one great quote or story I get to bring back home and share with my wife. Secondly, I get some quality one on one time with the kids. When the three children are all together they tend to interrupt or drown each other out. Getting my kids alone so they can ramble on about prescription medicine, their favorite color, or ask silly questions is really a treat as a parent.
Each of my kids has their favorite date place. My oldest loves books, so we will go to Barnes and Noble where she’ll gather about 25 books around her and peruse through each of them. I’ll grab a book and a comfy chair, (of which Barnes and Noble has way too few of by the way), and watch my daughter try to find her new favorite story. My son loves ice cream and fast food, so a trip to Brewsters or Chick-fil-A will leave him as happy as a clam. All of my kids love going to breakfast, so some mornings I’ll take one of them to Waffle House or the Cracker Barrel for a nice morning meal.
*By the way, if any of the aforementioned stores would like to advertise on my blog, I would gladly and shamelessly accept their money.*
Sure, a lot of our conversations revolve around silliness like prescription side effects, last night’s football game, or what they want to do this summer, but having the kids one on one also provides an opportunity to talk about deeper things too. On our dates my oldest daughter has asked some of the most insightful and difficult questions about God and faith. I’ve talked with my kids about their behavior towards their siblings, how to act like a gentleman, and about difficulties they’ve had at school or with their friends. Getting the kids out by themselves provides space for them to share what’s on their heart and to talk with them, without interruption, about serious and real life issues.
I believe quality one on one time with the kids creates lasting memories for the kids and for us as parents. I know it does for the children because I still remember going out to breakfast with my dad from when I was a kid. I have no idea what we talked about, but I do remember my dad making time for me and buying me a special breakfast. It creates great memories for parents because you get get the opportunity to hear your kids give their perspective on medicine that causes diarrhea. And it’s not just dad’s who get to enjoy this. My wife has taken my kids out as well, particularly my son, because she likes getting ice cream too, but she also wants to show my son how he should interact with a woman in public, i.e. holding the door for her and speaking respectfully and politely in their conversations. When I go out with my girls I hope they are learning what to expect from a “date” in the future with some…ugh…boy, (God help me).
So parents, take your kids out. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. Two scoops of ice cream or a Happy Meal at McDonald’s, (shameless ad plug), will only put you back a few bucks. The time you spend with your kids one on one be worth so much more.
And if you’re lucky you might even get a funny story about diarrhea that you can share with others.