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A Top Tip for Big People
by Philip Dale Smith

"When you spend quality time with a child, it's like making a secure, high interest investment; it will pay dividends for years to come"

Clint, a professional counselor specializing in anger management irritated me, but I got over it.

He had said he wanted to be a part of my next multi-session communication seminar for trainers and speakers. He had insisted he was ready to “bite the bullet,” pay the price, and jockey his schedule so he could attend. So I called to invite him to my upcoming series. But when I told him the program would be on six Saturdays spread over three months, he balked. 

"Saturday mornings? Surely not on Saturday morning! I simply can’t make it!” Sleeping in, fishing, and golf flashed through my mind, but when I reminded him how emphatically he’d insisted he wanted the training, he told me this story:

One Saturday morning several months ago, my wife was away for the weekend, so I started to get breakfast for myself and my still sleeping children. I’d barely gotten underway when my oldest teen age daughter, Kendra, came in.

“Dad, it’s too early for breakfast for the younger kids,” she said.

“I’ve got a deal for you. Let’s you and I go down to the restaurant and eat,
then I’ll make breakfast for the others when we get back.”

“Hey, I’m for that!” I said and got my billfold and car keys.

When I locked the door behind us and we started toward the car, Kendra said,

“Dad, why don’t we walk—it’s not even a mile.”

I probably raised an eyebrow, but off we went, father and daughter unknowingly walking into a new world. Something more than an hour later, we were back and Kendra kept her end of the bargain by feeding the rest of the family.

The next weekend my wife was home and had resumed her role as primary household cook. Friday night Kendra came to tell me “good night” but paused, sat down on the arm of my chair, hugged me, and said, “Dad, I know Mom’s here to make breakfast, but-” she paused, then continued, “but Dad, could you and I walk down to the restaurant and have breakfast together again?”

“Dale,” he said, “I guess you know my answer to that question! Rain or shine, unless I’m out of town, every Saturday we walk together, talk, talk, talk, and eat breakfast together and talk, talk, talk. I’m not about to break that chain! We’ve gotten to know each other, trust each other, yeah, and love each other, as never before. I wouldn’t trade that for the world! So your seminar is out of the question.”

I heartily agreed and promised I’d let him know if I repeated the program at a more opportune time. It never happened. But I ran into him a year or so later.”

“Clint, do you and Kendra still have breakfast together each Saturday?” I asked.

He shot a sharp glance toward me. “Don’t you start talking to me about that. I’ll breakdown and cry!”

Shocked, I asked, “Why? What’s wrong?”

“She graduated from high school last spring—she’s gone off to college!”

He told me how those walks and breakfasts had created an incredible bond between them. He treasured the memories and cherished the relationship he knew would last a lifetime.

Live in full awareness that when you spend quality time with a child, it’s like making a secure, high-interest investment. It will pay dividends for years to come.

Create a routine which lets you take a child to breakfast—if not once a week, at least once a month. You can even do this with toddlers. They will treasure “My time with Dad.” Or “My time with Mom.” Or, “My time with ___________________.” --PDS

For other “Tips for Big People,” check out the website, Also read those in your monthly Every Kid A Winner Ezine newsletter.

© 2004 Philip Dale Smith