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. One glorious July, he actually 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

Our cross-country road trip lasted a month, 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. Teaching 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 closer relationships. The possibilities are only limited to our skills and the interests of our kids. How to grill perfect chicken and burgers, how to play any number of sports or activities, or how to fix things around the house are just a few suggestions.

3. Taking 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 regular. It left a big impression on me seeing him in his world. It taught me the value of reputation. I’m writing about it 40 years later. That’s impact.

4. Sharing Their Interests

I’ve learned having two daughters that our interests are not usually the same. For example, I have heard things like “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. I’ve been made over. Painted. Tea partied. Whatever their interests, make them yours, too.

Sound off: What are some other ways to make some great summer memories? 

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