Evidently, I have room for improvement. I know, if you’re in the Kent Evans Fan Club, you’re crushed. You can turn in your badge and decoder ring at the next convention. I’ve been mulling over the thought of “what behaviors are holding me back as a parent”. My hope is that you find some encouragement here and know that you’re not alone in your fight to be a godly dad.
I learned this stunning fact when reading a popular business book by Marshall Goldsmith entitled What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. I’d been encouraged to read it years ago by my best friend Dave. I think he suspected I just might learn a thing or two.
Actually, if I know Dave: he’d already told me this stuff, but I wasn’t listening. Throwing Goldsmith’s book at me was his last-ditch rescue effort.
Primarily the book is written to business people. However, in my work with dads, I can see a ton of application. To a man, each dad I meet wants to be a better father. And, those same dads are usually effective already, at least to some degree. They just want to improve.
The core premise of the book is that there are behaviors you’ve relied on to get where you are. And where you are might not be so bad. You may be a successful business man, an effective school teacher, or a respected pastor. At least some of your behavioral traits have helped you achieve certain professional goals.
But the irony is that those same exact behavioral traits are now holding you back from being even more effective. They got you this far, but like a terminating train station, you need to transfer to a new line to go any further.
My top issues
Of the twenty negative behavioral patterns listed in the book, there are at least three I could easily see in myself:
- Adding “too much” value by throwing my two cents into every discussion
- An excessive need to “be me” – exalting faults as virtues simply because they’re “who I am”
- Speaking when angry
I (somewhat) enjoyed the self-inventory. I’m not hamstrung by the delusion that I’m perfect or that such a state exists this side of heaven. I know I have room to improve in these areas, and others.
Discovering your issues
The challenge for you: can you identify these areas in your own life? What do you tend to do as a father trying to lead a family that puts people off and reduces your influence?
Here’s a major shortcut: tonight, ask your wife and kids (separately), “What can I do in the future to be a better father?” Don’t argue with them! Just thank them for the feedback and commit to improving.
Note: Mr. Goldsmith’s an outspoken Buddhist. I wouldn’t agree with him on some critical issues, especially the morality and source of our behavioral choices. Even so, I found his diagnostic approach practical and beneficial.
The Manhood Journey team encourages you to check out Family Table Time. Their mission is to “Get families talking,” usually around the dinner table. They provide discussion questions for families. We are featuring some in a few blog posts. This week, we’ve borrowed their questions on Community Service. Discuss these with your family:
- What are some small things you can do every day that will help your community?
- Describe at least one community service you’ve performed in the past. Who benefited and how?
- What is a community service that you see a need for, but no one is doing right now? Could you organize others to do this?
Learn more about www.familytabletime.com.