Aubrey eagerly sported her tool belt with tucked-in hammer. Everything about her said, “Let’s go build something daddy!” She was ready for anything and wanted to prove she could tackle anything her brothers could – and more.
The “weekend” basement remodeling project had morphed into a 2 year marathon. We’d finish one part and my lovely wife would come down the stairs oohing an aahing about how good it looked. Then I’d hear those dreaded next words “But babe, that old _ (insert “wall, ceiling, window,” etc.) next to it just isn’t going to work…”
I love Aubrey’s curiosity and can-do spirit, and these attributes have served her well. How many college freshmen girls show up with a fully equipped tool bag? Every time a dorm mate wanted to hang something on their wall they came to the girl who knew how to use a stud finder, level and drill! Today she is still tackling the tough stuff as a successful R.N., on her way to becoming a Nurse Practitioner. But I still remember the little girl with a ponytail and toolbelt. How I relish those shared daddy-daughter times. Something special was being planted in her heart and mine.
What is it about working alongside our children that creates such rich bonding experiences? Memories of customizing her room just the way she wanted it, bookshelves for the college dorm, refinishing the dresser together, a rolling cabinet for her painting supplies, a swing for her own backyard tree. Simple things….beautiful things…all helping to make life just a bit more lovely. Deeper still, they became seeds that would prove to bear profound fruit. During the hard teenage years when she grew distant, they helped hold us together. I believe that all the deposits of time and affirmation and shared experiences spoke a language that her heart could hear when words weren’t working. And as she launched out on her own, I know they said “We believe in you – you are worth it!”
I have no doubt that one day when Aubrey has her own children, that her love language will feature shared creative experiences. I can see her finding special projects tailored to the interests of each of her kids. And she’ll pull her hair back, put on her toolbelt, and say with a smile, “Let’s go build something!”
Perhaps you too have discovered an amazing love language with your kids, and if so, your heart is smiling with me now. But maybe it has eluded you, and today can be your time to start planting those seeds.
Would you like to create lifelong memories with your child, grandchild or someone you care about? There is a wonderful opportunity this June 23-27, 2014, for you to share an amazing experience with that person (15 & up). It goes way beyond woodworking. You’ll connect deeply with each other and with the love of God. And no prior woodworking experience is required! Men and women are welcome, and Moms—it’s the perfect Father’s Day present. A retreat from the demands of everyday life to build beautiful heirloom keepsake boxes together. A special time to invest in your relationship with your child that includes both woodworking and worship. An added bonus is that your attendance supports a wonderful cause.
Here is more info: Through the Narrow Gate with Marc Adams. Don’t miss it! I hope to see you there.
Phil Stoner is a woodworker and President of Narrow Gate Artisans.