summer memories

4 Ways to Be a Great Summer Dad

When I reflect back on childhood summer memories, there is one image that always stands out—my dad. There were baseball games, beaches, mountains, cookouts. Heck, one glorious July, he actually took the entire month off work (owned the company), bought a conversion van, and drove my family from North Carolina to California and back. That’s one memory that’s never going to leave me.

Few things are more cherished in childhood memories than summer. Make no mistake, the season is a BIG deal to our kids. Want to be a great summer dad? Here are 4 ways to step up to the plate.

1. Spontaneous or Planned Adventure

In 1977, when my dad took off a month of work to show us the country, it was a monumental trip. But there were always shorter planned and often spontaneous summer adventures. We’d be awakened at 4 a.m., put in a car, and find ourselves on the way to the beach or mountains. Or my favorite, he’d reveal at dinner that he was taking me on his business trip the next day. Planned or spontaneous, give your kids the gift of adventure.

2. Teach Your Kids Something New

Summer is the time to learn things they don’t teach in school. We have the opportunity to teach life skills, while at the same time building tight relationship bonds. The possibilities are only limited to our own skills and the interests of our kids. How to grill perfect chicken and burgers, how to play any number of sports or activities, or teaching valuable handyman or landscape skills are just a few suggestions.

3. Take Your Kids to Work

When my dad would take me out on the road with him in summer I thought he was the coolest person in the world. I’d go in these enormous manufacturing plants and everyone seemed to know and like him. Everywhere we went was like that. Restaurants, motels…he was a known regular. It left a large impression on me seeing him in his world. I was taught the value of reputation. I’m writing about it 40 years later. That’s impact.

4. Share Their Interests

Planned or spontaneous, give your kids the gift of adventure.I’ve learned having two daughters that our interests are not usually the same. For example, I have heard the phrase, “I don’t sport,” a thousand times. Nothing would please me more than for one of them to love baseball. Not happening. So, I go to their interests. I can tell you more about current and past Broadway musicals than I ever dreamed would be in my head. I’ve been made over. Painted. Tea partied. Whatever their interests, make them your own, too.


Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is your favorite summer activity?”