By Wes Vaughan
Look at his face…sheer and utter joy. Bag of cotton candy. Being up past his bed time. Grave Digger. Monster Truck Jam 2013. Times like this with my boys are what I cherish. I like to think that a healthy portion of his excitement seen in this picture is simply because he is on a special trip with his Dad. A boy looks up to his Dad for guidance, direction, a model to live by. I pray continually for guidance on how to do a worthy job of this because I know I only have a limited time to make a good impression.
Here is what I try to achieve every day with my two boys:
1. Show them that I love my wife. I want them to see that their Mom is my top priority. I believe that seeing that will not only give them a sense of security now and in the future, but will also convey to them how important their wives need to be when they are older, married and with children. “If Momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.” (Short side note: Every time my boys see my wife and I hugging, they come to wherever we are hugging and giddily sit themselves in betweeen us…they LOVE it.)
2. “I love you.” Can’t tell them enough.
3. “I’m proud of you.” Every man yearns to hear this, from the first day of his life ’til the last day, especially from his Dad. We want to know we’ve done good and I try to tell (or show) my boys this as much as possible when I see them succeeding in their lives – giving, sharing, being kind, achieving a goal, whatever. Their faces light up when they hear this…it’s awesome.
4. “You’re good at ________.” Drawing, coloring, organizing, building Legos, hitting a baseball, kicking a soccer ball, climbing a tree, running, whatever. If they excel in something, I tell them because I want them to have a strong sense of confidence in themselves when they face the world.
5. Pray. Whether it’s saying a blessing at dinner time or saying our prayers at bedtime, I want my boys to know that the world is bigger than them…and they need help getting through it. Be thankful and trust that God has your back.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” -Proverbs 22:6
Filed under Bible, children, Christian, Faith, Family, father son, Fatherhood, Inspire and Motivate, Love, Marriage, parenting, Personal
By Wes Vaughan
I am married to an amazing woman. I hesitated picking such an overused word for her but when I read how Urban Dictionary defines “amazing,” I decided to keep it: “Something that is so wonderful, it is hard to find the words to match. Something that makes your heart beat faster or your heart melt. Something that tops everything else, and always crosses your mind.”
That about hits the nail on the head. My wife is beautiful, talented, devoted, strong, funny as all get-out and she likes to cook (very well), which is a huge bonus…even if my waist line disagrees. I want to do as much as I can for my wife, as often as I can. The happiest moments of my days are when she is happy; alternatively, knowing that she is unhappy completely eliminates any chance of me performing at 100% that day. As we all know, the skilled act of balancing life comes into play daily – marriage, work, kids, work, friends, work, social events, work, exhaustion, work, bedtime. Where does one find time to focus on their marriage? Even weekends are usually spent deciding what the next activity is for the kids. As much as I love my marriage, it is hard work and in constant need of attention and upkeep to avoid slipping into a rut. But oh so worth the diligence…
In January of 2013, I created multiple calendar alerts for my marriage (if I do it for work, why shouldn’t I do it for something more important?):
- Every day at 10am, I get an alert to “Compliment Liz.” I typically give her a call, a text, an email, letting her know what I love about her, complimenting her appearance that morning, thanking her for being my wife, an amazing mother, her laughter, her love. On the occassional day when we are in a disagreement, this can be challenging, but another positive to this daily ritual is that it reminds me to be thankful of how incredible she is, which in turn helps me forget why I’m upset with her…and hopefully why she’s upset with me!
- On the first of every month, I get an alert to schedule a date night with Liz. I know this might sound ridiculous to those without kids and free to plan a date spontaneously, but you’ll probably get here one day too. And, man, do I love date nights with my wife! Just sitting with her and talking, particularly over a good meal at one of Atlanta’s many new (or established) restaurants, is easily the best two to three hours of my month. Private, focused one-on-one time with my wife can be a rarity and setting aside this kind of time is crucial for us, and it always rekindles the early, exciting days of our relationship. We’re usually a sucker for a matinee movie beforehand, too (particularly during Oscar season).
- Vacation (sigh). Just saying the word relaxes me. It’s happening in 2013. Me and the missus. White sand, ocean, sleeping in, talking, reading, just the two of us. One of my favorite things to do is travel with Liz and it’s been forever since we’ve done it. Making it happen.
With these reminders comes the mindset of doing “extras” for my bride – taking the kids to school, picking the kids up, making dinner that night, washing the dishes, folding the laundry, leaving her love notes scattered around the house for her to find at random, mailing her a thank you letter, buying her a gift when there is no occassion or holiday in sight…you get the idea. Seeing her smile and knowing that she is pleased brings joy to my life, which brings joy to my marriage, which brings joy to my kids, which brings joy to my day.
Happy Valentine’s Day.