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It was the German psychologist Erik Erikson who famously described the development that occurs throughout a person’s lifespan. He divided it up into eight stages beginning with Infancy and culminating with Maturity.
I have no reason to challenge the late academic’s assessment but our seven-year-old son recently shared with me his own perspective on the matter. He’s become something of a philosopher. As we ate breakfast together this past Friday he talked and I wrote:
1. You love everything that everyone else loves.
2. Then you like Batman.
3. Then you like all kinds of things.
4. You think you're a King and know everything.
5. You learn how to have fun and do well in school.
6. You get a job.
7. You get married and stuff.
8. You have kids and stuff.
9. You become old and become a grandparent and know almost everything, almost because you know enough to know there are things you don't know.
10. You die.
I asked him about Heaven, and he said, "Well, that's not a stage of this life. That's a stage of the next life!"
The only reason Riley shared this with me when he did was because I had invited him out to breakfast, just the two of us. With two younger brothers it’s hard to have a lengthy conversation over a meal and so he jumped at the chance to just sit and chat and openly share with me what’s been on his heart.
An older friend had suggested these weekly outings to me. “Write down what your children say,” he would regularly tell me. “Otherwise you’ll never remember it later on.”
Have you ever thought about making a habit of eating one-on-one with your son or daughter? If you have, I'd love to hear about it. If you haven't perhaps you might consider it.
So, a tradition has been born and later this week the two of us will gather again at the local Village Inn. I know what he’s going to order (pancakes) but I can’t wait to hear what he’s going to say.
Paul Batura (@FocusPRTeam) is a contributor for the Dad Matters blog and the vice president of Communications for Focus on the Family and its sister organization, CitizenLink.
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A Daddy/Daughter monthly date-night is something I've been wanting to do.