What a blessing. Last evening we double dated with our oldest daughter Micky (18) and her boyfriend Ricardo (22). My husband Trav and I have been on some great double dates. I have to say out of all of the double dates we’ve been on this double date was the most rewarding.

We took Micky and Ricardo to one the best burger joints around named Hodges in Barberton, Ohio. Ricardo is from Texas so we had to show him a Hodge’s burger. Just like any normal set of couples do, we sat across from each other, reading out our menus of what is interesting, finding out what food wise we have in common by hearing “Oh that sounds good!” or “I just want onion rings.” as we read ingredients out loud. (I don’t know why but is always interesting to me when I find out someone doesn’t like mustard.)

While sitting across from your dating child you can see how they interact with their date and they can observe how their parents interact with each other. Drinks (non-alcohol) are a good ice breaker and it always seems like when the drinks are served people start to feel a bit comfortable and open up. We laughed and shared funny stories. I think it was good for Micky and Ricardo to see Trav and I relaxed, sharing food, and picking on each other.

It was interesting to listen to our newly adulting daughter and see how she has changed and grown over the years. I was impressed with her choice to start a relationship with Ricardo. I began to see why I liked her boyfriend just by observing his mannerisms in public and how he treated her. Travis learned a thing or two about Ricardo and was in disbelief Ricardo had never been fishing and immediately started to plot and plan for a fishing trip. It is amazing what God will show you about each other and what can spawn from a date.

From Hodges we drove by to show them where Trav and I met and we told them the story about how my trainer Bonnie introduced me to Travis. She pointed Travis out and said “That’s Travis McKim, he’s a punk. Stay away from him.” We laughed and I told them what I said in response “I’m going to marry that boy.” And it was sure enough I did. Micky and Ricardo seemed to appreciate the glimpse into our family origins. This lesson was to appreciate and never forget where you came from.

We left their for ice cream at our favorite ice cream shop Pavs in Coventry, and we had the opportunity to teach them about spotting opportunity and stepping out of your comfort zone. While ordering ice cream I noticed a stunning green house across the street. We got our ice cream and I encouraged everyone to walk across the street to ask if we could check this beauty out. Before you know it we are meeting new people, learning new ways to garden, learning about someone’s dreams.

The Lord showed me an opportunity to help this gentleman grow a business from the greenhouses he builds. I love helping people start and build businesses. It is a passion of mine. Trav and I head back over this coming Friday to teach him how to create a business plan/blue print, set up an online store, social media, and a blog to show off his green houses and sell them as kits. It is amazing the opportunities and lessons the Lord blesses us with.

After our ice cream stop at Pavs we took Ricardo to our fishing hole, The Tunnel. 5 generations have fished there. It was important for us to teach them about the rewards of family traditions and legacy. It takes a family to love, honor, and respect God and each other to create legacy. That fishing hole is small, but filled with mighty memories, and if it weren’t for God it would be possible for 5 generations to share these memories at this same spot. This lesson also taught them how much we value our family and cherish these moments.

We took Ricardo next door from the family fishing hole to Craftsman Park. If you are in Portage Lakes Ohio you have to get a hill top view of the lakes and…..catch a turtle by the docks. That’s just a McKim Golden Rule. Travis took us to the docks and he and Ricardo looked for turtles. Travis found a cute little snapper and snatched it right out of the water. (How does he do that?) The importance of this was to create more memories while being appreciative of the surroundings the Lord has made.

Later on in the darker hours of the evening, Trav took Ricardo cat fishing. It was Ricardo’s first time ever fishing and he said fishing is very relaxing. It is important for a man to show young man how to relax without the confides of drugs and alcohol. Men carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. It is important for a man to create a bond with another man that may marry your daughter.

Invest in lives of your potential sons and daughter in laws because that investment becomes a ripple and that ripple effects how they invest time into their families, which could be your child and grand babies. Last but not least: It is important for anyone coming to the family to feel welcomed, safe, and given opportunities to bond.

It is important for your child to see the softer, kinder, opened armed side of you towards their chosen one. Because, it is important for your dating child to know you respect their decisions, you support their decisions (unless harm is involved), and you will always give them a chance to learn life without your approval, but trust me your approval means the world. Teach them love, mercy, and grace by double dating with them.