I often evaluate and reevaluate my priorities in my life about my time. Time is a limited resource that can’t be expanded no matter how many times I want it to be. Do you ever notice how we say “If I had more time, I would….” We say this because we realize there are always things we want to do, and yet time never expands or multiplies. It remains the same. I think the real issue is not needing more time, but to use our time more wisely. As I think about some of my biggest priorities, number one is my relationship with God and number two is my relationship with my family.
One of the main requirements of pastoral ministry is the ability to pastor your own household. If a man cannot do that well, he shouldn’t be pastor of a church. Also, fatherhood is one of the most impactful and lasting ministries out there. All fathers have impact on their kids whether they are good or bad, present or absent. I want to be a good father who loves my kids and shares and demonstrates the love of Jesus. With that being said, here are several practical ways for you to spend your time more wisely as a father.
1. Spending less time on your phone.
Like most dads, it’s great to catch up on email, sports scores, or your twitter feeds. But when you are home, be present. Put the phone down and connect with your kids.
2. Getting off the couch and playing with your kids.
Similarly to the phone, get off the couch and be where your kids are. If that means sitting on the floor and playing with them, do it. If that means going outside and throwing a baseball with your child, do it.
3. Watching less TV to spend more time with your kids.
After a long day at work, I love to decompress by going home and watching TV. It’s an easy, mindless task that helps me rest. But, my kids haven’t seen me all day. When I get home, I get smiles and hugs, and my kids want my attention. You really don’t need as much TV as you think. Turn off the TV and go love on your kids.
4. Visibly loving your wife.
It’s easy to say you love your wife, but would your kids know it if you didn’t tell them that? Kids are incredibly perceptive, and they really know if you love your wife or not. Do you love your wife? Do you show that to her throughout the day? Your relationship with your wife will be what your kids look to as the relationship they will emulate with their spouse.
5. Telling your kids you love them.
Sometimes for men, it’s hard to share our emotions and feelings. Instead of being quiet, tell your kids you love them. You can never say it enough.
6. Telling your kids you’re proud of them and you think they’re beautiful.
Like the above, you can never tell your kids enough that you are proud of them and you think they are beautiful. Particularly, little girls want to know that their daddies think they’re beautiful And little boys want their daddies to be proud of them and to respect them.
7. Genuinely living out your faith in front of them.
If you say one thing and do another when it comes to your faith, your kids are going to see it. They will do one of two things: model the hypocrisy or run far away from the faith. Christianity isn’t just something you do to “cover your bases.”
8. Teaching them about Jesus and the Bible.
Many times, my daughter will ask all sorts of questions about life and how things work. Her questions are often about God, and each one of those questions is an opportunity to teach her and to show her who God is. Sometimes, the ‘why’ questions seem ridiculous or I might have answered them 20 times already, but she is learning and she is wanting to learn from me. It’s a special opportunity that you shouldn’t waste.
9. Taking them out on special outings one-on-one.
One of my kids favorite things to do is to go on dates with me and Lindsay. We will often trade off on our Friday mornings. One Friday morning, I will take Trey out. The next Friday I will take Gia out. My kids love the one-on-one times, and they seem to be in great moods after dates. It takes planning and intentionality, but I assure you it is well worth the time and effort.
What can you do to change?
- Make sure your kids are a priority.
- Cut out stuff that you think is important to have time to do the above things.
- Stay physically in shape. If you’re not in shape, it’ll be harder to keep up with the energy level of your kids.
- Ask your wife to be honest with you about how you’re doing with the above nine steps.
- Be willing to admit that you have flaws as a father, and you want to change.