One working definition of sacrifice is this: 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. 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 or if participating in them yourself robs your kids of you. Instead, invest in what will last. Live the best life possible with your family. Sacrifice yourself for your children. Here are 10 sacrifices a good father makes for his child.
1. The Lifestyle
Life was easier without responsibilities. You could do whatever you wanted. But nowadays, there are little ones counting on you. Sure, you still slip out on occasion to catch Monday Night Football and see how many 50-cent wings you can down. But most days, you sip iced tea and your wingman uses a sippy cup.
2. Stepping up to the Plate
Sometimes you can’t believe the words 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 rests at your feet. You are the responsible one. Discipline and guidance have been reassigned to your department. You step up to the plate and you deliver because that’s what a good father does.
There is always something else that needs to be done and somewhere else you want 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 need you to be.
You’d love new golf clubs or the 80-inch TV that taunts you at Best Buy. But you leave those items in your dreams or on a “wish list” that gets larger over time. You work hard so your loved ones have what 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 a.m. once upon a time? You are lucky to make it past 8 on weekend mornings and 6:30 during the week. Your first instinct might be to shoo your child back to the television. But you don’t. You get up and play because he or she will remember what type of man you are forever.
6. Your Dream Job
You work hard and you’re talented. Naturally, opportunities present themselves. 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 will it cost? The corporate ladder only needed to be climbed just so far. To keep climbing may require too much precious time away from your family.
7. Being Cool
You’re cool, right? Nope. You’re a good dad, but you aren’t cool. Your clothes are old, you’re carrying too much weight, you’ve lost too much hair, and you have no idea who sings the 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.
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 OK with it because a good father knows what’s really important.
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 WingsThe 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.
Earn some points: Are you married? If so, share this iMOM article with your wife: 5 Things Moms Need to Sacrifice for Their Kids.
Sound off: What things have you given up temporarily for your kids?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you think it means to sacrifice for someone else?”