Father’s Day is quickly approaching, and as I look back, I don’t know how my kids ever made it. How did I ever make it? Being a dad seems impossible, but there are some baby steps you can take that will forever change the way you parent.
Let’s take a look at my oldest—he is 19 and at college. It’s sounding good so far. But along the way, we sure had lots of speed bumps. I remember battling over whether or not he would pick up the UNO cards for forty-five minutes when he was two. Is that normal? How about putting him down for a nap with a juice cup—bad idea. For you young dads out there, that results in rotting teeth. And I remember him taking his first steps…as he reached for a bag of Doritos. Yet somehow, he made it.
Often I feel like a failure as a dad, even though I am so proud of everything my kids continue to accomplish. It is natural for men to feel like they don’t measure up. The assumed role of “dad” is scary, undefined, and leaves me feeling completely incompetent. There isn’t a study guide, nor do I feel qualified for the position, yet I am the CEO. I just want to do a good enough job that my kids don’t end up all jacked up.
Let me share some hope with you: being a dad is simple. What? Yes, being a dad is simple. It just requires making a simple impact in your child’s life once a week, and keep doing it as long as you live. Take some baby steps.
From the time a child is born until they graduate high school, is approximately 936 weeks. Then they graduate and you still have to be dad until you graduate to heaven. That’s a lot of weeks. But I don’t have to be the best dad in the world. I just need to have one win every week.
What are some ways I can win?
TIME: I set my phone down and listen to my child. I play with them and engage them in their world. I let them know I will stop what I am doing because they are important. I can’t do that all the time, but at least once a week I can give them time with dad.
FUN: The memories you have are filled with emotions. I want my kids to have fun memories with me. That means watching a funny show together, going to an event together, or just having a tickle fest in the living room. Creating those experiences surrounded in laughter and enjoyment is doable once a week.
LIFE: Remember that coach who told you that you could do it? Be that coach for your kids. Speak into their lives. Encourage them. Tell them they have a future and a hope. Tell them you are proud of them. Tell them you love them. No regrets; once a week speak life into their lives.
I watched my son take those first steps as a toddler. He had no idea what he was doing. It was scary, but the reward of getting some Doritos was worth it. I need to remember that parenting is simply me taking baby steps every week as my child and I grow together. Whether my child is a baby, teen, or full-grown adult, I can still touch his life on a weekly basis. What step will you take this week?