If I make it to 99 years old one day and get the chance to lie on my death bed with the time to reflect on my life, the 4th thing I want to be remembered for is being a great business owner. The third thing I want to be remembered for is being a great coach. The second thing I want to be remembered for is being a great family man. And the first and most important thing I want to be remembered for is being a great Christian man.
So why would I spend more time focusing on the 3rd and 4th thing on my list, instead of the 1st and 2nd?
This past Sunday I was sitting in church listening to a phenomenal sermon on Father's Day. My son Gio wanted to sit with us in big church instead of going into the kid's room. While sitting their together I began reflecting on being a father to him (I only tuned out the sermon for a few minutes).
It's such a great responsibility being a dad. Am I being a good one? What would my kids say about it? Later on in life when they're older, how do I get them to say that I was a great dad?
I absolutely love being a dad. It is the best thing that's ever happened to me. But I mess up a lot and I'd like to reduce my mess-ups as much as possible.
So I sat there in service and decided to take a few minutes to jot down some action steps on what I need to do to step up my game. Just like writing up a training program or a vision map for our business, I know that if I do these things, then I can only continue to get better as a father.
HERE ARE MY 4 WAYS TO BE A BETTER FATHER
1. PLAN TIME WITH MY KIDS DAILY
I used to think this was ridiculous. Plan time in my schedule to be with my kids? No way, that should just happen. I shouldn't have to plug that into my daily regimen. Well, guess what? I failed. I get caught up in other things and before you know it, I'm a distracted parent not spending quality time with my kids. I plan meetings. I plan training sessions. I plan my own workout time. I HAVE to plan play time with my kids. So if I say that from 3-5pm today I'm #ALLin with my kids, then I know nothing else is allowed to be done during that time. We can go for a walk, we can play legos, I can paint my daughter's toe nails (which I did the other day by the way), but I cannot do anything else but be fully in the moment with them. It's so much harder than it sounds. Watch.
2. PLAN DADDY-SON AND DADDY-DAUGHTER DAYS
Sometimes our kids just need some one on one time. Two weekends ago Gio and I stayed at a hotel together. At first it was going to be a family thing, then we realized the baby wasn't going to let us sleep that night. So it ended up just being Gio and I. He loved it. It was at the Cambria in Avon by the way---a sweet hotel, thanks to a friend's husband who owns it! He was so excited to watch a show before we fell asleep and eat breakfast in the morning together. He even said, "we gotta do this again next week daddy." It doesn't have to be staying away for long, even just a movie or meal. My daughter will need this too. I don't know how often it should be, but I know it should be often.
3. ASK MY KIDS THESE TWO QUESTIONS EVERY NIGHT
How was your day today? Is there anything that you wish you could have done? I need to sit with them before they go to bed and actively listen to them and genuinely care what they have to say. I've been surprised a few times by what Gio has said was his favorite part. Sometimes it's simple things that you wouldn't guess would be his favorite, like sitting on the ground at the corner store eating a popsicle together. It's also a reality check if he says well I want to play more with you because you were on your phone a lot for work today.
You might not think this is powerful but by taking at least a few minutes each day to reflect with each other can help put meaning behind our daily grind, instead of just making it another day that goes by too quick. Plus, when they see that you're making changes based on their feedback, they know you're listening, and they know you care.
4. PLAN WEEKLY DATE NIGHTS WITH MOMMY
I've been talking about this challenge for a few years now and we still can't get a rhythm. What does this have to do with our kids you're asking? Well they need to see that mommy and daddy love each other, A LOT. So much that we know how important it is to never lose US-time and that we'll actually devote a time block each week to it. Amber and I talked about it yesterday. We need two hours a week, even in the middle of the day after work to go grab a bite to eat or whatever it is, and just be in-tune to one another. Gio and Alana may not get this right now but I know they will later on in life. Our children are a part of our lives, we're not a part of theirs. They have to see that husband and wife come first. So if we lead by example, they're more likely to follow later on in life when they are married and have kids, and they are going to say my dad was a great dad, he loved my mom!
I was listening to one of my favorite speakers Bishop TD Jakes in his sermon a few days ago, and he said something that really hit home with me. He said something along the lines like, "Each day I have many roles to fill. The role of a pastor. The role of a business owner. The role of a father. And the role of a husband. I have to know that because I'm human, each day I'm going to flunk at one of these roles."
I'm going to add that not only am I human, but I am a man! I'm not going to be 100% in all my roles each day. I'm a husband. A father. A business owner. A coach. I'm going to flunk at at least one of these, because my gender isn't wired to get it all right!
BUT, I've seen how detrimental it is for kids with distracted parents. As a social worker I saw kids literally dying inside because of the absence of a father.
So if I'm going to flunk at one of my 4 main roles each day, then I don't want it to be my 1st and 2nd.
My prayer is that I wake up each day with my first intention dedicated to succeeding at being a great father and a great husband.
For today and hopefully everyday, a great business owner and a great coach will have to stay 3rd and 4th place.
Be a better father today. There's no doubt that this will be an absolute game-changer for you and everyone in your life.
It's not about me,
*Please excuse any typos or grammar mistakes. I did not edit.