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Why I’m Not Buying My Dad AnyTHING For Father’s Day

I don’t know about you, but I always struggle to find my Dad a gift for Father’s Day.

It’s not that my Dad is picky. It’s actually the opposite. He doesn’t seem to care at all. I could probably get away with coloring him a picture. He would say that spending time with me is what’s really important. But I want to get him something because he’s a great dad. I want to get him something that makes him happy and is meaningful in a lasting way. How do I do that? With a tie? A kitchen accessory? Another ugly sweater?

The other day I read an article about the psychology of spending. The main point was that we are more likely to find lasting fulfillment when we spend on experiences rather than material possessions. It kind of sounds like a no-brainer, right? But it was interesting how the article broke it down. Basically, a guy named Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, has found that happiness associated with purchased items goes down over time while happiness associated with life experiences goes up over time. He even found this even to be true of extremely negative experiences. Overtime, we can come to see these negative experiences as trials that have shaped us. At the very least we get a fun story to tell our friends. But even if you are 100% satisfied with your new 4k TV, you will likely be sick of it 5 years from now when it’s old and the quality is pathetic compared to the 15k TVs of 2020. I want to give my Dad something where his satisfaction with it will increase over time.

What about meaningful? How can I give my Dad a gift that will mean something for more than a few months? Below is one very interesting quote from Dr. Gilovich:

“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods. You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.”

As a Christian I see the word “identity” and I immediately think “in Christ.” So when I read this quote I thought about my own identity as a Christian. Or, rather, I thought about how I gained my identity as a Christian. My faith journey is filled with stories, not things. My identity has been formed through experiences, not possessions. The events of my life formed and shaped me into the person I am today. Many of those experiences include trips, conferences, and camp. I have a few possessions that are pretty significant like my camera, or my guitar. Those items represent key parts of who I am. But, it is my experiences with those things that have really shaped my identity. I bet my dad would say the same about his experiences. What could be more meaningful than giving him something that becomes a part of who he is?

So I’ve decided that I’m not going to buy my Dad anyTHING for Father’s Day. I’m going to give him an experience. I want to give my dad something that makes him happy and is meaningful. I’m going to see if he wants to go to Men’s Retreat. It’s a 2.5 day experience. He will share this experience with other men. He’ll have the chance to goof around, play basketball, enjoy all of our outdoor elements, or just relax. More importantly, he’ll truly connect with other guys, form closer friendships, and enhance his relationship with God. I’m not saying Dad can’t grow closer to God or learn more about himself through a new tie or a Grill Master’s Playbook Vol. 4. But my guess is that God is more likely to speak to him through an experience like Men’s Retreat. It will become a part of him and he will remember it fondly for the rest of his life.

Consider Men’s Retreat as a gift for your Dad (or husband). Sign him up today for $104.