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What We Are Doing
It’s quite simple. We schedule into our family Google calendar one time each week for one of our five kids to go on a brief, one-on-one date with either of us. That means that each week one of the kids takes a turn, and we try to alternate when each of us goes on these dates.
Disclaimer: Consistency is a big challenge. Our family is super busy (in great ways) and we climb back on the horse frequently. No shame in this; it’s just life.
The typical date takes about an hour and a half, often in the morning or evening. Like all the dates I’ve been on, these excursions include a little fast food. We spend time telling jokes, talking about whatever is on the kid’s mind, and otherwise just having a good time in each other’s company (sometimes we can get over to the gym for some exercise, shoot baskets, go for a walk…). Along the way, we are looking for an opportunity to key in on something important.
In the end, we make time to pray and then look forward to the next date (which will likely be with the other parent).
Three Benefits to Dating Your Kids
These benefits may be obvious to you, but they’re worth mentioning again.
- Open Communication: The simple task of spending one-on-one time together is a blessing. Like siphoning fuel from a car after midnight (I’ve never done this, mind you), once communication starts flowing, it tends to keep flowing. We hope the kids will know we are ready and available to talk about life, even when life gets hard.
- Brings Chances to Refine and Reform: Believe it or not, I often think I’m a much better parent and husband than I am in reality. This means I often don’t recognize the many ways I’m falling behind. And it also means I need to capitalize on my chances to catch up. These dates can give us parents
goodopportunity to refine our children and reform our parenting at the same time. Sometimes I can see where the work is needed. And other times I need some help; even by asking, “So how can I be more helpful to you?”
- Clears the Path to Discipleship: If God had not called me to ministry, I’d be a professional goof for sure. So I have to be careful not to allow these dates to descend into mindless snacking and recreation. Dating the kids is first and foremost about Jesus and His glory, and it’s a fight to keep the main thing, the main thing. But it can be done. Dates provide prime opportunities to disciple the kids. Dates (among other efforts) help to clear the path to discipleship, by which we can encourage happiness in Jesus, repentance of sin, and the love of truth in these little, quickly growing people.
What are you waiting for?
Get back out there, moms and dads. The dating scene is ripe. And in the end, it’s just another, simple, brilliant idea which is easy and beneficial to your family.
“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.Deuteronomy 6:4-9