Dads, what is the most important part of your day? “This is it. It’s their only childhood. The three hours I’ll have with them until they go to bed are short. It’s go time.”
This is the pep talk I gave myself while I sat in my car—having just pulled into the garage. Work was tiring that day. People had been constantly popping into my office with a mix of questions and demands. I drove home and was ready for a break. But I knew what, or rather who, was waiting for me on the other side of the door.
Question: If you’re honest, what’s the most important part of your day?
How would your child answer this question about you?
My two daughters, Addison and Harper, would be waiting on the other side and welcoming me shortly with excited screams of “Daddy!” My girls didn’t have a clue about how my day went. They didn’t care. They simply knew their dad was home and it was time to hang out. I quickly finished my mental pep talk, opened the door and walked into the house.
Have you ever felt like you didn’t have the energy to be the dad you should? Have you ever walked in the door and wanted to be alone? Or have you ever felt like you gave your best at work but weren’t able to give your best at home?
You’re not alone.
I’m writing this post, not because I’m an expert, but because I’m right there with you—trying to figure out how to manage my energy better, because I fail at this often. At times, I’m in a bad mood when I come home and want to lay on the couch and watch TV. Playing tea party is the last thing I want to do.
But, luckily, there’s a bigger desire in me than these failures. I want to be a great dad and want my kids to have great memories of their childhood years. My heart’s desire is for them to grow up to love Jesus, have healthy families of their own, and be productive members of society.
“This is it. It’s their only childhood. The three hours I’ll have with them until they go to bed are short. It’s go time.”
Who gets the best part of you every day?
Do your kids get the same level of engagement and focus as your clients? Does your boss capture more of your enthusiasm than your wife? Your job can pull the best out of you and leave you with nothing left to bring home.
Your job likely provides you with identity, a sense of significance and a regular paycheck. You should do good work. As Paul encouraged in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.” But being a great employee is no excuse for being a disengaged dad.
My kids can feel demanding at times when I’m hoping to relax. I want to sit down and catch up on social media. But, my kids want to play a board game or ride on my back like some sort of horse. Like you, I face all sorts of demands all day. My email inbox is constantly demanding responses. I have co-workers who are demanding conversations about important decisions. I have budgets to review and people to meet.
So, do I really think the demands in my workplace are more important than the demands in my family? Your family will feel like they are the least important part of your day if you are
- constantly checking email once home
- don’t fully listen to what they’re saying at dinner
- spend all your downtime at home kicking back on the recliner
On the flip side, your family will know they’re the most important part of your day if you
- send a text earlier in the afternoon letting them know you can’t wait to hang out that night
- look them in the eyes as they share about what happened at school that day
- spend just a few minutes wrestling before heading for that recliner
My main goal in parenting is to raise children who become productive, mature, Jesus-loving adults. My day job is important but it’s the nights and weekends where my true legacy will show up. Here’s the message I communicate to my kids when all my best energy goes to my job:
“My role as an employee is more important than my role as your dad.” I would never say those words out loud to them, but my actions may shout that truth loudly at times. The time with your family is the most important part of your day and they need to know it and feel it.”
Your family should clearly know your time with them is the most important part of the day. Make a point to regularly express to your kids how much you value the time you get with them. Give them something to look forward to. Tell them in the mornings what you’re looking forward to.
Your family should clearly know your time with them is the most important part of the day.
Knowing is one thing and feeling is another. Do your kids feel like they get the most important part of your day? You can help them feel this way by asking questions.
- Ask what the best part of their day was.
- Find out what was frustrating to them that day.
- Seek to know more about what they learned at school.
- See what is going on with their friends.
Biblical fatherhood understands the key to having more energy at home is to slow down. You may have to run through your day at a fast pace, but once you’re at home, it’s time to slow the pace down. Slowing down helps you be fully present and engaged. A slower pace helps create a place where your family can feel like the most important part of your day.
Question: If you’re honest, what’s the most important part of your day? How would your child answer this question about you? Tell us in the comments section below, tweet us @manhoodjourney or you can always email me.
About the author > Mike Lovato, M. Div.