Presence Over Presents: A Different Way to Celebrate Father’s Day

You’ve probably heard it before and maybe you even practice it in other parts of your life: sometimes your time is a greater gift than one wrapped up in a box. For those of us with aging parents, this can be even truer. Simply celebrating life together can go a long way in deepening our bonds and creating happiness and fulfillment. With Father’s Day just around the corner, why not look at how you can make this part of your celebration?

son and dad playing chess

If you’re not sure how to go about it, we’ve got a few ideas:

  • Honor Memories: Does your father have a favorite memory that he shares with you frequently? If so, is there a way to honor or celebrate that memory—or even create a new one that builds on it?
    • Take time to find a nice album or book and arrange photos and clippings in it.
    • Go to a concert that features the music your father often refers to.
    • Plan a day trip to an old familiar place and have a picnic.
  • Get to Know Each Other Again: Perhaps your father has developed new interests in recent months and wants to share them with you. Even if the activity sounds like something you aren’t that interested in, if your dad is interested in sharing it with you, that’s a good enough reason to go and check it out. When we see our parents in situations we aren’t used to seeing them in, we get an idea of who they are now and what enriches their lives. We can then help to foster that in their senior years and celebrate it!
  • Do Something New: Getting out of our comfort zone (within reason) can really help us to develop and refresh our bonds to each other. Has your father expressed an interest in experiencing something new? If so, plan it and go do it together! Of course, bungee jumping might not be a good idea, but maybe a line dancing class or a museum tour is just the ticket.
  • Break Up the Routine: Sure, routine can be really important for people, especially those elderly people who need regular meals and medications. But, that doesn’t mean Father’s Day should be like any other day. Find ways to mix it up a little bit. Make them one of their favorite meals that they don’t get every day. Take a walk in a different direction than you normally do.
  • Find the Magic: In Alaska, we don’t need to look far to see something beautiful, but like anyone, your dad could be a little desensitized to the wonder of the world around him. Summer is a spectacular time in Alaska and there are many dramatic scenes to take in. But, is there something out of the ordinary that your father hasn’t seen? Give him a chance to get a fresh glimpse of magic.
  • Listen: Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? But, are you really listening? We get so caught up in our busy lives, that sometimes we don’t really hear what our loved ones want and need. Take some time in the next week to listen to what your father is talking about and what is inspiring or stimulating to him. You might even ask him what he’d really like to do for fun. Then, make a plan based on what you hear. Of course, listening also means paying attention to your dad’s capabilities and schedule.

Hopefully, these thoughts will help you to come up with a memorable Father’s Day activity.

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