One working definition of sacrifice is this: Sacrifice is giving up something temporarily good for something eternally better. There are many brief, good things in your life: watching football, shooting a round of golf, hunting, fishing, exercise, etc. But all of them are far inferior to spending time with your children. Going in the backyard and tossing a ball with your child, going out for ice cream or playing a board game with your kids should always trump the time spent on the trivial.
So minimize your brief pleasures if you cannot include your children in those activities. Instead invest in what will last. Live the best life possible. Sacrifice yourself for your children. Here are 10 sacrifices a good father makes for his child.
1. The Lifestyle
Jimmy Buffett would have been proud to know you. No responsibility was felt towards anything and your life revolved around the next bit of fun. Eventually, last call always occur. The lights come on and the party is over. You still slip out on occasion to catch Monday Night Football and see how many .50 cent wings you can down. But Margaritaville has long since closed. Nowadays you sip ice tea and your wing man uses a sippy cup.
2. Stepping Up To The Plate
Sometimes you can’t believe the words are coming from your mouth. “I sound just like my Dad” you think to yourself with a slight bit of fear. Then, you remember you are the Dad now. A different set of priorities now rest at your feet. You are the responsible one now. Discipline and guidance have now been reassigned to your department. You step up to the plate and you deliver, because that is what a good man does.
Time moves like a bullet train. Even Christmas sneaks up on you like a fleet-footed time bandit. There is always something else that needs done and somewhere else you need to be. Then, you see those big brown eyes staring up at you. The only place you know you will be is right where they want you to be.
Sure with your money you would love to upgrade the golf clubs. That 80 inch hi-def at Best Buy taunts you every time you walk by it. But you leave those items in your dreams. Or on a “wish list” that gets larger every month. You work hard so your family has the things they need. Luxuries are for them when possible. College funds, insurance and retirement plans are where you have your spending sprees now.
Remember sleeping past 10:00 am once upon a time? You are lucky to make it past 8:00 am on the weekends and 6:30 am during the week. Your first instinct might be to gently take your forearm and shoo her back to the television. But you don’t. You get up and play because she will remember what type of man you are forever.
6. Your Dream Job
You work hard and you’re talented. Naturally, opportunities arise. There is always a kicker though. This one moves the family across the country. That one requires that you travel for three weeks a month. The money is incredible, but how much of your soul is required to take it? The corporate ladder only needed to be climbed just so far. To go further may require too much precious time away from your family.
7. Being Cool
Nobody likes to think of themselves as a nerd. You have friends and people like you. You’re cool, right? No, sorry Dad, you aren’t. Your clothes are old, you’re carrying too much weight, you’ve lost too much hair, and you have no idea who sings the currently most popular song. No, you aren’t cool, but there is a very positive trade-off. You are Superman in the eyes of a special little child.
8. The Fan
Back in the day you had season tickets and never missed a game. Occasionally, you spend what amounts to a full car payment to take the whole family with you for a game. You arrive late because your daughter puked on the way. You leave early because your son is starting to lose it. You listen to the rest of the game on the radio on the way home, but you’re okay with it because you are passing on your passion to the next generation.
9. Your Things
The big game is on and you want to watch. That’s when your daughter comes in and wants to watch her favorite show. So you give up the big screen. It’s tough to give up our stuff, but you are willing to do it because hearing your child laugh is more satisfying than watching the game.
10. Spreading Their Wings
The most difficult sacrifice for any great father is letting go. He just learned how to ride a bike and now he’s backing your car down the driveway. A few days ago, she was playing with Barbies and now she has a date coming to pick her up. Yesterday, you were holding his hand walking into Kindergarten and now the trunk is packed for college. The most difficult sacrifice for any great father is letting go.
Sound off: What things have you given up temporarily for your kids?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids tonight and say, “One thing I am going to give up that I planned on doing is… Instead, why don’t we all…”