My 10-year-old son just left on a weekend road trip with his dad. It's the first time the two of them have headed out of state together all by themselves, and I will admit, it feels a little weird to be left behind while the guys head out on the road. My husband is a very involved dad, and he spends lots of time with the kids. It's just that he seldom gets to spend a lot of alone time with any one of them. That's one of the side effects of having twins. From the moment our twins came home, they have almost never been apart.
Growing up without fathers
I know my kids are lucky to have a great dad. According to the latest census data, one-third of their peers are growing up without their biological father. And of the fathers who do have contact with their kids, not all of those are truly involved and invested.
Children who grow up without their fathers are more likely to drop out of high school. The majority of young people in prison come from fatherless homes, and kids who commit suicide are five times more likely to have lived in a home without their dad.
Not enough to just be there
The recent movie, "Courageous", was about fathers standing up and taking responsibility for their unique role in the family. The men in the film realized that it was not enough just to be there. They had to actually be engaged with their kids and involved on a meaningful level. They had to choose to make their kids a priority and take the time to really focus on their relationships with each member of their family.
As a homeschooling family, we spend a lot of time with our kids. But I wish we'd been able to give each of the kids even more individual time over the years. I know that those one-on-one times are special, and they will be even more important as the kids head into their teens.
Seizing the moment
This weekend away from the girls was a spur of the moment sort of trip. We only decided yesterday that the guys would go away on their own and I would stay home with the girls. I have no idea what my husband and my son will do, except that their last phone call from the road involved root beer and an all-you-can-eat buffet. I figure they will eat guy food, play guy games, watch guy movies, or whatever guys do when girls aren't around. Most importantly, they will be able to talk freely about guy stuff, and I know my son has lots of questions on his young mind.
This seems like a great time for my son to take off on a trip with his dad. He's at an age where things are starting to change, physically and emotionally, as he begins to move toward puberty. I'm sure there are all sorts of things a boy might want to talk about with his dad, but it can take some time to get into any topics that may be embarrassing. There's nothing like being stuck in a car for several hours with another person to encourage the sort of deep talks you could never have at home.
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