planning. How can you be intentional
about building your relationship with
1. Be There
Even your absence will mark your child.
Pederson worked with junior high
school students for more than 15 years.
He observes, “Most kids just want time
with mom and dad. That’s probably the
toughest thing for a parent to give, but I
don’t know that a kid can be convinced
their parents really love them without
their parents investing time.”
You can have the right intentions and
the wrong actions.
As another man explained, “Dad basi-
cally fathered me by buying me things.
One of his motivations to work so hard
was to be a good provider for us. He
wanted us to experience life’s best, but that
often came at the expense of what I really
needed—which was to be with him.”
As Camp Paradise director Tim Van-
denBos points out, skillful fathering re-
quires prioritizing wisely: “You have to
say ‘no’ to some good things to say ‘yes’
to the right things. You only have your
children for a season; once that season is
gone, it’s gone.”
So, once you carve out time to be with
your child, what will you do when you
Listening is central to loving.
Reflecting on his relationship with his
father, one man talked about the pain and
frustration caused by his father’s inability
to listen. “Some of my worst childhood
memories involved trying to communi-
cate or express things to my dad and not
have him really listen or understand. It
didn’t seem like he ever understood. For
some reason, there was a wall that we
could not get over.”
Regardless of the past, you can learn
how to become a better listener today.
Steven Covey’s chapter on empathic
3. Have Fun
listening in The Seven Habits of Highly
Effective People is a great place to begin.
Some of the best activities to engage
in with your child are those which pro-
vide the opportunity for spontaneous
Toss around a softball; go fishing at the
Be There; Listen; Have Fun
forest preserve; build a model together.
Roger Farrell suggests: “Do anything
where your child is included not just as
someone who’s tagging along because
there’s no one to watch him or her—but
where he or she is actually invited to be a
participant and treated as such.”
He adds, “When you engage in a proj-
ect with your child, keep your primary
objective in mind. Perfect results or ef-
ficiency in completing an activity has to
be second to the experience of doing it
Do you recall how much time you spent
as a child listening to people tell you
what to do? Imagine how your children
will feel if you make a special date with
them—and invite them to set the agenda.
Will you make time this week to mark
your children with love?
Stacy Farrell has been homeschooling her
sons for more than 10 years with the support of her husband of more than 20 years.
She loves to help students cultivate and
defend a Biblical worldview by teaching
them how to write skillfully, think critically, and speak articulately. To that end,
she created Philosophy Adventure,
Creative Freewriting Adventure, Philippians
in 28 Weeks, The Wise Woman with
Literary Analysis Journal Questions,
the Mere Christianity Critical Analysis
Journal, Creative Freewriting Adventure,
Celebrating Manhood—a rite of passage
guide, and I’d Rather Be Your Mommy.
Learn more about her work at https://
“You have to say ‘no’ to some good things
to say ‘yes’ to the right things.
You only have your children for a season;
once that season is gone, it’s gone.”