Are You Committed?
Commitment is something that has been on my mind lately as a family man. In thinking about commitment I believe there are two categories. One is making commitments, which is basically an obligation that you have to fulfill. For example, you make the commitment to be at your son’s ball game tomorrow night. The other category of commitment is more of a state or quality in which you’re dedicated to a cause or activity. For example, you are committed to raising your children to be quality kids. You are committed to being there for them, investing in them and fulfilling your duty and responsibility as a father. It is this second category of commitment that I want to briefly focus on today.
For many men today, being committed as a father is not even on their radar. They were there when the conception happened and maybe they are physically present in the home and perhaps they financially support their family. However, is that all that we as fathers are called to be? The answer is a resounding NO!!! Yet, that seems to be the accepted norm- just enough to get by as a dad and leave the rest to the mothers (or grandmothers). However, we are NOT called to “just get by” as dads! We are called to excel, to invest, to initiate, to lead… to be committed to our children!
So what does being a committed dad mean? I believe that being a committed dad means putting yourself second and the commitment of fatherhood first. In other words you put your relationship with your children first and your own wants and desires second. This isn’t something you can do once or twice and then put on autopilot. You have to work at this every day. Everyday we’re faced with choices that we have to make as fathers. The choice to invest in our kids, or just do what we feel like doing. The choice to sit and talk and listen, or just brush them off and tune them out. The choice to plan ahead and have margin in our lives, or to be so consumed with our work, business, workouts, sports etc… that we have no down time.
Being a committed dad takes time, energy, forethought, sacrifice, humility, courage, selflessness and self-discipline. Those last two are probably the most difficult to master as a dad. Men tend to be selfish to a fault and undisciplined in many areas of life. I know this is VERY true in my life and I have to work at it every day. However selfish and undisciplined you may be, that cannot be an excuse for failing to meet your duty as a father. You’re not always going to feel like being a dad, you’re not always going to feel like investing in your kids and you’re not always going to feel like taking the time it takes to be the dad you were called to be. But fatherhood isn’t a feeling! It’s a duty and responsibility that each of us assumed the moment we became a dad, like it or not. It’s kind of like love. Many today talk about love as if it was simply an emotion, but it’s not. Love is more than an emotion, it’s an action. To love someone is to think the best about them, do the best for them, say the best about them and desire the best for them. You may not always feel like doing those things, but if you truly love someone, you’ll do it anyway. The same holds true for fatherhood-you may not always feel like doing what it takes, but you do it anyway.
As I wrap this up, I wanted to leave you with a brief action plan for being a committed dad:
1. Make the decision to be a committed dad. When you decide to do something, you’re cutting off the option to not to it. Decide to be a committed dad.
2. Plan in advance. Plan to be a dad who takes time with his kids, who listens to his kids, who is present physically, mentally and emotionally. Plan some nice times with your kids. Daddy dates, boys night out for your sons or girls night out for your daughters.
3. Quality vs. Quantity. People talk about spending quality time with their kids. Did you know that what you think is quality time might not be perceived as quality time for your kids? In fact, you can’t really tell what is going to end up being quality time for them. So what you have to do is focus on spending a quantity of time with them and in that quantity of time there’s sure to be times that they perceive as quality.What you think is quality time might not be perceived as quality time for your kids Click To Tweet
4. Listen. Listen to your kids and I mean really listen. This is something that I’m currently working on. Often we listen with an eye toward how we’re going to respond. Also, we tend to interpret what they’re saying through the lens of our life. If you’re doing this, then you’re not really listening. When you listen to your kids, just let them talk and really hear what they’re saying, try to see things from their point of view. Don’t jump right in and try to correct, fix or judge what they’re saying. Often when we really listen and empathize with our kids they end up resolving their own issues.
Take care dads and make the decision to be a committed dad!