A Father's Time
December 7, 2018
A Father's Time
As fathers, we are all pressed for time. No matter what we focus our energy and attention on, time is the one factor that seems out of our control. Every day has 24 hours. We can’t get more of it and we can’t store it up. So how can we possibly balance our many responsibilities and still have enough time to spend with our families?
One of the things that helps me clarify my priorities (and therefore my time) is to think of the brevity of my life. What will people remember about me when I am gone? Who will even remember me TWO generations from now? The answer for most of us is clearly “my own family.” It is often said that no one dies wishing they spent more time at the office. But many, sadly VERY many, die wishing they had spent more time with their family.
Yet how do we do that? We can’t get more vacation time. One of our most important responsibilities is providing safety, food and shelter for our family so we can’t quit our jobs and just spend time with our family. The answer goes right back to that 24-hour day. The time struggle is a DAILY struggle. We need to spend time with our family daily. You can’t devote 18 hours a day to work for 3 years and then take a two-month vacation. Although your children might enjoy that vacation, they wouldn’t really know who you are. You would simply be a walking wallet.
No. We need to set down the phone and talk to our wife and children. Ask them about their friends, their school, and their day. Wait for their answer. Most importantly LISTEN to their answer. Understand that sometimes they won’t offer much conversation, especially when children are in the teen years. The important thing is that the time devoted to these daily conversations, even if short, shows them their importance. One of those times, they will surprise you with a very important problem they are facing. If you are not communicating daily, they will NOT have an opportunity to share that problem and they will have to face it alone and confused. These are the moments you are needed and they are only possible if you devote the time daily.
I am not saying this is ever easy. It’s a balancing act that never gets easy. Setting that phone down is difficult. There are people and responsibilities on the other end of that phone that need your time and attention. BUT… your family does, too.