How much time do you spend with each of your children? Do you ever take inventory of the hours you have dedicated to each child of yours? It can be a convicting activity and if you are like most dads or more specifically if you are like me, it will result in some feelings of guilt. Each one of your children deserve more time than you give them and no one realizes that impact more than you do.
Developing a Plan
Should the guilty feelings lead to paralysis? Should we succumb to the notion that we are too busy and there is nothing we can do about it? Not if we want to be the dad that our heart want us to be. The first step to take is to make a plan. Not a grand plan but a plan that we can succeed with. Begin by picking a simple and fun activity that you can do at home or close to home with each child. Maybe it is taking a son to a batting cage or mini-golf. Maybe it is a simple “date” with your daughter to her favorite fast-food restaurant. Perhaps it is picking out a book that both you and your child will enjoy and taking 10 to 15 minutes every night before there bedtime and reading aloud to them.
Those are some of my ideas, but your own ideas will be the most effective. The important thing is to commit to move from passivity to activity – and you don’t have to be super dad to do that.
Overcoming Our Incorrect Perceptions
I often feel that I have to achieve some lofty goal that my mind has pre-determined I must accomplish in order to be a successful dad. Frankly, that is wrong and will only serve to lead me to a passive outcome of doing nothing. Consistent little things are of great value. They don’t take much of our time, they don’t require much planning and perhaps even less execution, and they make a big impact – especially over time. I don’t discount the occasional “bigger event” planning like a vacation, a ball game out of town, a camping or hiking trip or the like. Kids need to have event milestones in their memories and “big events” are great for that. However, your children will also remember the faithful dad who took time regularly out of his schedule to give of himself to his kids: homework, doing chores together, a simple hug, a short walk, telling jokes, etc. You can add a lot of your own great ideas to the list.
Make a Commitment
Now the idea is planted in your head and heart, great! But it is time for both committment and execution. Do something very simple today and build momentum that will help you continue on and might even pleasantly surprise you child. Don’t let yourself beat yourself up for the past. Make a pledge to yourself and your children to give them your greatest resource – you!