A 10-Year-Old Adventure
"I think a father's job, when it's done best, is to get down on both knees,lean over his children's lives, and whisper, "Where do you want to go?" - Bob Goff, Love Does
Two years ago I read the incredible book "Love Does" and came to the chapter where the author, Bob Goff, describes how he took each of his kids on an adventure when they turned 10.
His goal was both to connect with his kids, fan their sense of "whimsy," and demonstrate that God made us to live life with an unbridled sense of adventure.
If you've ever read or listened to Bob Goff, you can't help but be inspired.
Billy and I immediately agreed we wanted to do this with our kids as well. Our process looked a little different than Bob's, but I think the impact was the same.
1. One-on-One Bonding
Our family tends to hang as a pack. Team Phenix is our moniker for a reason. However, on the 10-year-old adventure, the kid gets a parent to her/himself.
One-on-one time may not sound like a big deal, but it is.
For instance, during one particularly long drive, Josh and I played a game called "Order the Transformers." Josh had all five Marvel Transformers with him and I would give him a sorting criteria, "put in order of who is the most dangerous" or "the most clever" or "who had the most screen time." We played this game for at least an hour, and I PROMISE you this wouldn't have happened if there were more people with us. (They would, most certainly, have been annoyed!)
However, Josh and I were in charge of making our own fun and that's exactly what we did!
When you have concentrated adventure time with your kid, you start to really see what they are made of. I learned how Ellie isn't just sweet, she is resilient. I saw how Josh is not only fearless, but strong.
I heard about Ellie's hopes for school and why Josh wants to play more soccer. I learned about some dynamics between friends, and, of course, I now know which Transformer is which (and Bumblebee is the favorite!).
3. Counting Days
As of today, there are approximately 354 weekends left before Ellie goes to college (459 for Josh). We work not to merely count the days, but to make the days count.
The 10-year-old adventure acts as an anchor in that process.
By setting aside this time and making such a ridiculous effort to connect, our hope is to communicate that life is precious and should be lived fully and fearlessly.
I don't think there was anything unique about how we executed our adventures aside from the fact that we were committed to saying "yes" to whatever each child wanted to do. We decided each kid got to pick one trip with Mom and one with Dad. Mom or Dad was in charge of logistics, but otherwise the kids were free to decide where they wanted to go.
Our daughter Ellie wanted me to take her horseback riding in Montana. So away we went to Whitefish Montana and Glacier National Park!
The chilly air or rainy days didn't impede the adventure.
The importance of the trip was prioritizing our relationship and taking on challenges together. For her trip with Billy, Ellie asked him to take her to a Hunter Hayes concert in Huntsville, AL.Billy downloaded all Hunter Hayes music and cranked the tunes all weekend long.Throughout the weekend, Billy's date was the prettiest girl in town!Our son Josh, who turned 10 last week, picked going to the UCLA/Oregon game at the Rose Bowl with me.
Since we flew out the day before the game, a Magic Mountain excursion seemed only fitting!And our final day we took a rock climbing class in Joshua Tree National Park.Josh is still deciding on the Dad adventure, but I know it will be amazing!
In the meantime, if you need more encouragement to have an adventure in your family, definitely pick up Love Does!