Dairy Queen cones and what my father taught me about loving children

My dad liked giving.  What he especially liked giving was time.  I didn’t know about the five love

The real deal: Dairy Queen Pineapple Sundae

languages[1] back then, but if I had, I could have pegged my father as a quality time man.

In the summers after work, he would sometimes drive me to the Dairy Queen a few miles from our house.  Our favorite treat to get was whatever cost $1 or less.  Sometimes it was chocolate-dipped cones.  Sometimes it was ice cream sundaes.  (Dad didn’t like Dilly Bars® because they were messy.)

I tried every flavor of sundae there was, I think, besides cherry.  I discovered I didn’t like butterscotch, marshmallow was too sweet for me, hot fudge too thick, and mere chocolate not unusual enough.  Pineapple became a surprising favorite, although I also liked caramel and strawberry.

Inside the Dairy Queen (because my dad absolutely would not eat ice cream in his car), we would talk about stuff.  Well, my dad didn’t really talk a lot, but he listened a lot.  Sitting in that smallish ice cream shop, I would tell my personally invented jokes (“creative genius”, really, although my father appears to be the only one—as of yet–able to tolerate them in bulk quantity without starting to make threats) and the observations I had made of the world while he was away at work.  Picture the completely effortless and nearly mindless chatter of a little girl with her father all to herself and you’ve got it just about right.

Today, some nine or so years after the last ice cream stop with my father when I was in college, I don’t have any children of my own yet.  But I know this about parenting: those $1 (and at the end, $1.19 or so) ice cream cones meant more to me than the thousands of dollars more my father could have made working more than we needed.

I hope you take time to love on your children.  And if you’re like me and you don’t have any, there’s a little girl or boy in a local school or club who would light up like the Fourth of July if you visited, and there’s a little girl or boy in a country around the world who would treasure a letter from you with a few stickers or a coloring page like it was Christmas time.

Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him. (Psalm 127:3, NLT)

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See http://www.compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/sponsor.htm to sponsor a child who needs you.

[1] Five Love Languages concept named and discussed by Dr. Gary Chapman

Photograph by Calgary Reviews (modified with permission), profile on http://www.flickr.com/people/calgaryreviews/

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

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