My wife is an integral part of the organization I call my family! Some people will probably say that I am weird, but I see my family as an organization that has a purpose (mission & vision), values, strategy, and roles. Our purpose is to bring God’s Kingdom to this world through following His will. In order to do that we must function in a relationship of love and growth. We measure our profits through the joy that we experience with others. I can’t say that I’ve always played my role as husband and father to the best of my abilities. In fact, in the beginning, I was terrible at my role. I’m just glad I didn’t get fired! So, how should one be in their role of husband and father? Here are the ways I strive to succeed in as a husband and father.
Break Old Habits
Growing up, your perspective on reality is formed by your experiences and the experiences of those around you, especially your teachers. I grew up watching my
dad work really hard at starting his mechanic shop business after he was laid off from his oil-field job. He worked long hours to provide for our family. He showed his love through giving me gifts and almost anything I wanted. Well, I got used to everything being about me, and I took that to my marriage. I can’t put my finger on exactly what I thought a marriage was going to be like before getting into it, but I can tell you that it was probably formed a lot around what the TV shows depicted at the time. I grew up watching The Simpsons, Married with Children, and Back to the Future. All of those stories molded me to think that the husband worked an 8-5 job, and when he got home he had dinner, beer, and TV (not necessarily in that order). It wasn’t until I began my journey into what a biblical marriage looks like before things started to change. A biblical marriage is that of an equal yoke, centered around a greater purpose, with grace and love. So, my advice? IF you think you are doing your part, you probably need to step it up a bit and go a step further in being a servant to your family. Always think “What is best for the future of my family?” Break the old habits, the learned behavior, and be the husband you envision yourself to be.
Busyness Does Not Equal Accomplishments
Our world is fighting for every waking hour of our attention. Think about it, how many mornings do you wake up to more than one notification on your phone? How many times do you get distracted from your task at work by an email, phone call, or an interruption from a co-worker for a fire that needs putting out? What if we focused on the meaningful work? The work that will have the biggest impact towards the mission? We could probably “do” a lot more.
The same is true for the family unit. It is difficult balancing the providing income, house, etc. part of the parent role and still be there for your children emotionally and spend time with them. I personally disagree with the term work-family balance. I believe that work and rest comes in seasons. In times of harvest, the amount of time spent at work will increase. In other times, the time spent with your family will be increased. The key is found in the seasonal transitions and in the daily transitions.
Being a consultant and a business owner, I am always on call and the work never ends. Which is a great thing for me! Up until recently, I thought that I needed to be home a certain number of hours so that my work-family time was balanced. The problem is that my family didn’t really have me when I was home. I was always on the phone or on my laptop. The girls would be told to not disturb daddy because he is working. Combine the working, with the other forms of mindless scrolling we do on our devices during our down time, and you have a real problem. The children don’t really know the difference between your working and your Facebook scrolling! Dad must always be working, even if he is home!
What I’ve learned is this: When I am home, I am home. If I need to work on something, barring an emergency, I go somewhere else. Now the girls get Daddy, when he is home, not some zombie.
Be a Model of What You Want Your Kids to Be.
This one is the simplest to describe but the hardest to enact. I’m sure you’ve heard the term “do as I say, not as I do.” How many of you can say that you are exactly what your parents
told you to be? From my experiences, I seem to have been molded by actions of others, as well as their teachings. So I can only imagine what my wife and children are learning from my actions … Have you thought about what values you want your children to exhibit? Have you thought about how well you exhibit those values? My learning has been in the delivery of those values. I try to never pass up a coaching moment. I have a tendency to tell Lillian not to do something … because I said so. But, I have found that the greatest impact occurs when I explain the reasoning. Also, time spent with my daughters becomes more of an opportunity to share with them my experiences. It is actually pretty fun!
Above all else, you should have fun! I try to channel my inner child in all things I do, especially when my children are around. After all, Jesus said those with faith like a child, will inherit the kingdom of God, “I assure you: Whoever does not welcome[a] the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:15.
The biggest impact on my life has been to put away the poser that the world has forced on me. I know that I wont be a perfect parent according to anyone’s standards, but I am okay with that. Yet, I still challenge myself to reflect on how I can be a better husband, how I can make my children’s experience more fruitful, and how I can lead my family towards our mission in this lifetime!