Where Have All The Snow Men Gone?

trey girls and snowminion

My girls and our snow”min”ion. Sloane was not even around when I first wrote the post below. Hope we all continue to make memories together.

Locked away in my home office I noticed my youngest daughter outside playing in the snow this morning. I remembered this article I originally wrote this over 8 years ago for a book I self published. It’s a little preachy (I’ve matured some…) but perhaps there are some nuggets in it for us all. Instead of updating it I’m posting as is and going to follow my own advice and go build a snowman with my girls.
It snowed recently. One of those days when the forecasters called for a dusting and a good three inches came down. I knew my youngest daughter, Sydney, was at home excited and watching the fluffy flakes float gently to the ground and begin to accumulate. I had just taken my oldest daughter, Sarah, to school that morning before the snow began to fall and I knew she was looking out the window waiting to be dismissed early because of the weather. When you live in an area where snowfall is not a regular occurrence, it has a tendency to make everyone act a little bit like a kid.

I talk to men all the time that suggest to me that they wish they had more time to spend with their children. I have seen statistics that suggest that the number of hours men actually spend with their families is diminishing. I visit with couples all the time that struggle with finding enough hours for them to enjoy quality family time. So, in light of our recent winter blast I found myself contemplating a simple question. Where have all the snow men gone?

It didn’t really hit me at first when I took my daughters sledding across the street from our neighborhood. We had this enormous area of hills all to ourselves. We played until the day began to turn to night. The whole time we were the only ones out. It would be different if we lived in the country, but we are in one of those cookie cutter neighborhoods where hundreds of houses dot the landscape as far as the eye can see. However, it struck me when we were building our snowman the next afternoon that there were hardly any kids out playing and the absence of snowmen from the front yards was only compounded by missing parents, especially dads, which were not out playing with the children on this snowy, beautiful Saturday afternoon.

In a day when reality television, terror alerts, and random violence have become the centerpiece of our conversations, we sometimes miss the opportunities we have to build memories with our little ones…before they are no longer little and memories cannot be built. Day after day, week after week, we go and we do. Then we justify our overindulgence into other areas that cheat our families by saying, “well, I’ve wired hard and I deserve a break.” We try to replace our relationship with activities and we wonder why when our children reach the “tween” years they begin to slip away from us. We have built our time together based on the number of activities we can use to occupy time and then when our activities cease to be of mutual interest, there is no bond, no relationship that keeps us together.

I know men who can rattle off every stat of their favorite sports team or NASCAR driver, but couldn’t begin to tell you what size shoes or clothes their child wears. So what’s the big deal? I’m not suggesting that if you don’t know how to help your children buy clothes you are unfit. With the way my little ones are growing up it is hard to keep up! I just believe that our families deserve more than what’s left over from our hectic schedules and fantasy (or real) sports indulgences. Nothing replaces relationship. It’s not about gifts and presents but about your guidance and presence.

In Andy Stanley’s book, Choosing to Cheat, he emphasizes how in our daily lives when it comes to time someone will get cheated. As men and women we only have one unique role and that is with our families. We can be replaced in every other facet of life. And yet, we seem to be willing to cheat the very place where we are unique. The next time time it snows find some time and build a snowman with your family.

What can you do to build memories and relationships with your family? Start where you are, work with what you have, do what you can….

Comments

  1. Barbara Inabinett says:

    Awesome, as always!

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