With four kids home all summer, I wanted to spend individual time with each one. But suddenly it was August, and I was still waiting for the perfect moment to connect one-on-one with my children. So I announced over dinner, "I’m going to spend a day with each of you, doing whatever you want to do."

As I predicted, my two girls chose shopping and lunch for their days. My older son wanted to go to a Cubs game, but my nine-year-old boy, Gabe, surprised me.

"I want to go go-karting," he said.

My kids had their first taste of go-karting on our last vacation. While they sped laps with their dad, I watched and took pictures. Go-karting was an activity that was out of my comfort zone.

"That would be fun," I said. For you. "But there really aren’t any go-kart places around here." However, there were several not-too-close options, and since I had set aside the whole day, we could drive there.

Going the extra mile

The following Thursday, with clenched fists on the wheel and fear in my heart, I took off with my son down the go-karting lanes. It only took one round for me to realize how much I enjoyed it. Abandoning my fears, I raced my son until lunchtime. What fun!

The tradition to take each kid out for a day in August continued through high school and secured our closeness during the sometimes vulnerable back-to-school transition. Over the years, we took bike and train rides, watched movies and enjoyed ethnic food. The most vivid memory, though, was when my nine-year-old and I had an amazing time together go-karting and nothing was on the agenda but the next lap.

From Focus on Your Child’s Tween Ages, August 2008. Published by Focus on the Family. © 2008 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

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