Be There

One of the core desires of a dad is to provide for our family. 

This desire manifests itself in a lot of different ways. We want to provide the basics for our kids: food, safety, and shelter. Then we often move to preferences, the non-essentials that we want to give our kids. 

My dad grew up poor. Really poor. There were weeks that his family ate rationed dried beans for every meal. My grandmother carefully administered the food to make sure that everyone got some, but it wasn’t much, and hunger was a part of daily life. 

When I was a kid, my parents reached a level of income where food was no longer an issue. My father never wanted us to be hungry because he had experienced hunger in such a devastating way as a kid. We were always encouraged to clean our plates, eat seconds, and there was always plenty of food. 

Often we want to provide for our kids what we didn’t have as children. 

It’s easy to focus on what you didn’t have. Maybe you, like me, didn’t have nicest toys or clothes. Perhaps you, like my dad, didn’t have basic needs at times. Whatever it is that you didn’t have, it’s often those things that we desperately try to provide as a Dad. 

What if you had something as a child that you didn’t recognize. 

Perhaps you didn’t have the nicest toys, but what if you had a lot of fun and an active imagination? 

Maybe you didn’t have the most expensive clothes, but what if you had a family that loved you and cared for you? 

Let me suggest one thing that every dad needs to provide for their kids that is often overlooked and undervalued… ATTENTION! 

Maybe you’ve been working a second job to provide nicer things for your kids, but what they really need is you.

What if the most significant thing you can give your kids is your time, energy, and attention? 

Here’s a simple goal to set: Be there. 

Be there for your kids when they have a game. Be there for your kids when they’re hurt and crying. Be there for your kids when they’re celebrating an achievement. Be there on birthdays and holidays. Be there. 

Your attention matters. 

There is nobody that has greater potential to influence your child’s life than their parents. You have the most significant possible influence unless you outsource it. 

How do we outsource our influence? We let our kids watch YouTube for four hours each night. We turn them loose on their tablets because they’re quiet and don’t bother us. We let them go over to other homes that don’t share our values because it’s so much more comfortable after we’ve worked all day. We surrender our influence on teachers, coaches, internet personalities, TV shows, and other parents. 

Whoever gives your child the most time will win. 

And… You can win. Be there. 

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What’s one distraction that keeps you from being present with your kids?

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