By Dr. Ken Druck & Stephanie Druck
Originally published on MariaShriver.com
Every year on the third Sunday in June, we honor our Dad’s with quality time, ties and, yes, maybe even control of the television remote.
While we are showering our Dad’s with tools and treating them to a BBQ, are we really honoring what they do as a parent? Or are we missing out on a bonding moment?
There may be no better Father’s Day gift than an opportunity to deepen, strengthen and develop a more loving connection with one another.
Take it from a Dad and Daughter who know — a simple act of love is better than a last minute gift. It’s also the kind of gift that keeps on giving.
Here are 6 simple ways to strengthen your bonds with Dad on, before, or after Father’s Day.
Make a List of Everything You Like About Each Other
We recently went through a rough patch in our own Dad-Daughter relationship. It had been a stressful time in both of our lives and we were getting on each other’s nerves. The annoying things we did NOT like about each other were surfacing.
Not only were our loving feelings fading in the rear-view mirror as we pulled further and further away, everything we like about each other was getting overshadowed. Then, we came up with the idea of sending each other e-mails listing all the things we like and appreciate about each other.
It changed everything. Negatively charged particles turned to positive — and paved the way for us to start talking through some of the ways we were bumping heads.
Ken’s list to Stefie:
”So it will never escape your awareness, I want you to know how much I like your…
essence as a kind, loving and compassionate soul
loving smile, radiant personality and inner happiness
enduring love of your sister through the years
sense of responsibility in taking care of your (four-legged) children
courage, fierce determination (even when you’re scared) and persistence
intelligence and wisdom about the matters of life
taste and sense of fashion when it comes to putting yourself together
uninhibited laughter when something tickles you
artistry, creativity, originality and keen aesthetic senses
honesty (even when it’s difficult), integrity, vulnerability and truthfulness
innocence and childlike joyfulness
respect for your own needs, preferences and limitations
love of music and dancing
respectfulness in being on time
text messages to let me know you’re thinking of me
toughness, strength of heart and fighting spirit when necessary
Stefie’s list to Ken:
So it will never again escape your awareness, I want you to know how deeply I appreciate your…
love for your daughters
compassion, generosity and drive to change the world
adventurous lifestyle and spirit
willingness to put away your tough guy, and be a soft open man
hard work to have a healthy body so you can live a long life
dearness when the little boy in you comes out and you’re being playful
obsession with flashlights!
way of accepting me knowing that I’ve always been “different”
The effects of exchanging “What I like” e-mails were so dramatic and uplifting, we both decided to do the same thing with some of the other special people in our lives, with equally wonderful results.
Showing appreciation with specific mention of the things we like, sets a positive tone for rebuilding, healing, improving and deepening the bonds in almost any relationship.
Take Some Fun 1:1 Time Together
Nothing replaces the intimacy of having fun 1:1 time together. Make a plan for doing something you enjoy doing together. It might mean going for a hike in nature, going to breakfast, a drive in the country, playing scrabble, having a catch or something you used to love doing together.
Block a few hours of uninterrupted time to really be with one another. Keep the activity part of your time together simple, uncomplicated and stress-free so you can focus all of your attention on one another. Relax, lighten up, talk, listen and cherish the gift too often taken for granted – that of being able to share Father’s Day together.
Our good friends have an annual Father-Daughter Trip they take great joy in scheduling and planning together. Time off together on an adventure, mission, project or at leisure in an interesting part of the country or world can be a wonderful way of solidifying and deepening your bond.
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