If you could name one person who made the most impact in your life, who would it be? I would venture to guess most of you would say your father, grandfather, an uncle or someone who was a father figure to you. There are many people, I’m sure, who have supported you through your life. Men you are valuable in the lives of your children.
My father had a major impact on my life. I adored him and it broke my heart when my mom and he divorced when I was five years old. Although I was hurt from their failed relationship, my father’s commitment to me impacted me the most. I think we all have a few scars from our relationships with our parents, but the one thing I remember most about my childhood is that my dad always showed up. He had visitation rights every other weekend and more during my school breaks. He never made an excuse to not pick me up. I can’t remember one time that he didn’t come and get me, even when he was sick or working.
No father is perfect. We all fail at being a parent at times. The most important thing is that you are present with your children. It’s not about quantity either. It’s about the quality of the time you spend with your children. Kids need their dads. They need to know they are loved, protected and accepted no matter what.
Our children want to be with us. Time spent with our children is not a privilege to be given or taken away based on their behavior. (Practical Fatherhood: Real Time, 2001-2012, p. 12) Children need regular (and when necessary), scheduled time with their fathers. It should be a normal part of your routine.
What has your child asked you to do lately? I have a son who will ask me to play card games with him. His attitude and countenance changes when I take the time, even when I’m exhausted, to play with him. As your children grow, the activity may change, but the fact that they need and want you to spend time with them will not.
When you spend time with your children, you are creating memories that will last forever. You are also establishing a relationship with your children that will influence the rest of their lives. Being attentive to them creates opportunities to affect their future in a positive way. You are influencing the kind of parent they will be some day.
If you haven’t been there for your children, it’s not too late. You can build trust with them by spending time with them now and getting to know who they are and what they need from you. Some kids need words of encouragement; some feel loved when you spend time with them in an activity. Every child perceives love differently. Over time you will realize what they need from you.
Make the decision today to create memories with your children by being involved in their lives. Show up and you will make a positive difference in their lives.
Herritage House ’76, Inc. “Practical Fatherhood: Real Time.” Snowflake, AZ, 2001-2012.