Three Tips for Dads: There’s Way More to Being a Father than Providing

BlogFamilyLeadershipParenting | June 6 2013

As a father it is easy to get on the roller coaster of “If I make more money and provide for the family all will be well. Mom will be happy because money is coming in, kids will have nice things so therefore I am a good provider and successful.” I grew up with this false truth thinking that’s what would make a “great” husband and father. I think that the idea of going out for the hunt is in every man’s heart and wiring. There’s something very gratifying about walking in the door with an animal over your shoulders. Dinner is served. However it’s intentional leadership to keeping the balance of career and what matters at home.Fathers Day The Kid in MeLets face it, most men find their identity in career. It’s the easiest and quickest way to satisfy the desire of “accomplishment”. Over time this wears off. The challenge of climbing mountains and ladders loses its luster.

I’m proposing a concept that is counter culture. Most people I talk to have the fear that if they “let go” at work and focus on the things at home then things will fall apart at work. I found it not the case. Even more extreme, I’ve found that declining work trips, events etc. so that I don’t miss the kids dates and events has its rewards. I’ve seen folks regret missing a dance recital but not regret missing a work trip. Even if it means money earned.

As Fathers, you only have a little bit of time with your kids. Every time you are sitting in their audience it is remembered. Even when there hundreds of parents are in the room, your face is all they really care about.

Work will always be there. I highly doubt you will find anyone on their deathbed wishing they would’ve spent more time at the office.

Three things to help create margin and guard the kid’s time:

1. You are the one who makes your commitments. Saying yes to things that fill up our calendar such as travel, meetings and deadlines can be a trap. We often say “yes” to too many things to feel important and value. Ask yourself, “Does this really have value? Am I already over committed? This goes the same whether you are employed or self-employed.

2. Communicate with your spouse. I cannot stress enough the importance of standing together with your phones, computers, tablets to get “on the same page”. Chantel and I probably do this daily if not 3-4 times a week. I believe as a husband and Dad I am responsible as the leader to keep things in order and on track. That means I need to lead when it comes to staying on a schedule. I treat it as a business. Actually, sometimes it feels like we are running a bed and breakfast with complimentary shuttle service.

3. Time with your kids is what matters. Not stuff. It’s easy to default to buying things for kids for them to feel loved. It’s harder and takes more effort to come up with things to do together. Recently we went to the dollar store. We bought a bunch of water balloons and the whole family had a water balloon fight in the backyard. That was hilarious. I’ll post some other fun summer ideas we have coming up.

I’m looking forward to seeing my 9yr old daughter this Friday play her recorder at her morning assembly!

What ways have you kept the balance in the home and career with the kids? Please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

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